Specific cation modulation of anion transport across the human erythrocyte membrane

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22 Scopus citations


The specific modulation by three cations, Ca2+, Mg2+, and tetracaine of the equilibrium exchange of SO4 2- across the erythrocyte membrane was investigated. While external calcium had no effect on SO4 2- exchange, internal calcium, and external calcium in the presence of 10 μM A23187 were found to be potent inhibitors of the exchange reaction. The apparent inhibition constants (K1) for Ca2+ were calculated to be 6.1 μM and 5 μM for the above two conditions, respectively. Unlike Ca2+, Mg2+ was shown to be a weak activator of SO4 2- exchange with an apparent dissociation constant of 3.6 μM. Competition experiments demonstrated that the Ca2+ and Mg2+ sites associated with anion transport are distinct and noninteracting. Tetracaine, a cation at neutral pH, was also found to be an inhibitor of SO4 2- exchange with an apparent K1 of 0.8 mM. Although tetracaine was observed to displace calcium from non-specific sites on the erythrocyte membrane, it showed no effect on the apparent inhibition constant of Ca2+ for SO4 2- exchange. Thus, the Ca2+ and tetracaine sites also appear to be independent. The difficulty of situating three mutually independent sites on a single subunit protein, i.e., band 3, is considered. Using the experimental data obtained from five individuals, the concentration of free calcium in the red cell cytoplasm was calculated to range from 0.2 to 0.7 μM. This concentration was sufficient to reduce SO4 2- exchange only 3-8%. It was concluded that calcium inhibition of anion exchange, and, hence, impairment of CO2 transport, may be physiologically significant only in senescent cells and in certain types of anemia where calcium concentrations are significantly increased.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-273
Number of pages10
JournalBBA - Biomembranes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 19 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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