Membrane conductance of an electroporated cell analyzed by submicrosecond imaging of transmembrane potential

M. Hibino, M. Shigemori, H. Itoh, K. Nagayama, K. Kinosita*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

247 Citations (Scopus)


Transmembrane potential was induced in a sea urchin egg by applying a microsecond electric pulse across the cell. The potential was imaged at a submicrosecond time resolution by staining the cell membrane with the voltage-sensitive fluorescent dye RH292. Under moderate electric fields, the spatial distribution of the induced potential as well as its time dependence were in accord with the theoretical prediction in which the cell membrane was regarded as an insulator. At higher field intensities, however, the potential apparently did not fully develop and tended to saturate above a certain level. The saturation is ascribed to the introduciton of a large electrical conductance, in the form of aqueous openings, in the membrane by the action of the induced potential (electroporation). Comparison of the experimental and theoretical potential profiles indicates that the two regions of the membrnae that opposed the electrodes acquired a high membrane conductance of the order of 1 S/cm2 within 2 μs from the onset of the external field. The conductance was similar in the two regions, although permeability in the two regions of the membrane long after the pulse treatment appeared quite different.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-220
Number of pages12
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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