The kinetics of transport inhibition by noncompetitive inhibitors

J Membr Biol. 1983;74(3):175-82. doi: 10.1007/BF02332121.


A new analysis of the conventional carrier model shows that noncompetitive inhibitors can give rise to either competitive, noncompetitive or uncompetitive kinetics; the true mechanism and also the relative affinity of the inhibitor on each surface of the membrane can be decided from the patterns of inhibition observed in different transport experiments. The principles governing the kinetics of inhibition apply to both reversible and irreversible inhibitors, for in either case the substrate may increase or decrease inhibition or be without effect. Ambiguity arises if the noncompetitive inhibitor acts on only one side of the membrane and if the substrate, in the course of being transported, alters the steady-state distribution of the carrier between inner and outer forms. In facilitated transport systems only equilibrium exchange should give rise to noncompetitive kinetics, whatever the location of the inhibitor. In active systems even the interpretation of exchange in the final steadystate is complicated if the energy-coupling mechanism produces a large displacement in the distribution of the free carrier or the substrate complex: the inhibition could be competitive or uncompetitive, depending on the location of the inhibitor. The actual mechanism is revealed in the uncoupled system.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport*
  • Biological Transport, Active
  • Kinetics
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Biological