A simple liposome assay for the screening of zinc ionophore activity of polyphenols

Food Chem. 2016 Apr 15;197(Pt A):916-23. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2015.11.057. Epub 2015 Nov 14.


An efficient liposomal system for screening the zinc ionophore activity of a selected library consisting of the most relevant dietary polyphenols is presented. The zinc ionophore activity was demonstrated by exploring the use of zinc-specific fluorophore FluoZin-3 loaded liposomes as simple membrane tools that mimic the cell membrane. The zinc ionophore activity was demonstrated as the capacity of polyphenols to transport zinc cations across the liposome membrane and increase the zinc-specific fluorescence of the encapsulated fluorophore FluoZin-3. In addition, the zinc chelation strength of the polyphenols was also tested in a competition assay based on the fluorescence quenching of zinc-dependent fluorescence emitted by zinc-FluoZin-3 complex. Finally, the correlation between the chelation capacity and ionophore activity is demonstrated, thus underlining the sequestering or ionophoric activity that the phenolic compounds can display, thus, providing better knowledge of the importance of the structural conformation versus their biological activity. Furthermore, the assays developed can be used as tools for rapid, high-throughput screening of families of polyphenols towards different biometals.

Keywords: Chelation; Ionophore; Liposome; Polyphenol; Transport; Zinc.

MeSH terms

  • Chelating Agents / chemistry*
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry
  • Ionophores / chemistry*
  • Liposomes
  • Polycyclic Compounds / chemistry
  • Polyphenols / chemistry*
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Zinc / chemistry*


  • Chelating Agents
  • FluoZin-3
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Ionophores
  • Liposomes
  • Polycyclic Compounds
  • Polyphenols
  • Zinc