Synthesis and characterization of a redox-active ion channel supporting cation flux in lipid bilayers

Org Biomol Chem. 2009 Sep 21;7(18):3862-70. doi: 10.1039/b907350g. Epub 2009 Jul 22.


The synthesis, cation binding and transmembrane conductive properties of a novel synthetic ion channel containing a redox-active ferrocene unit are described. Fluorescence spectroscopy was used to demonstrate that the channel supports multiple ion coordination and association constants for 1:1 and 1:2 (channel:cation) coordination for both Na(+) and K(+) were evaluated. Experiments using a black lipid membrane preparation revealed that this compound functioned effectively as an ion channel for both Na(+) and K(+). Concomitant (23)Na NMR spectroscopy studies supported this finding and revealed a Na(+) flux, at least 5 times higher than ion transport rates by monensin. Furthermore, oxidation of the redox-active centre (Fe(2+) to Fe(3+)) effectively inhibited ion transport.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Cations / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Ferrous Compounds / chemistry
  • Ion Channels / chemical synthesis*
  • Ion Channels / chemistry
  • Ion Channels / metabolism*
  • Lipid Bilayers / chemistry
  • Lipid Bilayers / metabolism*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Metallocenes
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence


  • Cations
  • Ferrous Compounds
  • Ion Channels
  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Metallocenes
  • ferrocene