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The American journal of physiology

Buffer-dependent pH sensitivity of the fluorescent chloride-indicator dye SPQ.


PMID 8381589

Abstract

The fluorescence intensity of 6-methoxy-N-(3-sulfopropyl)quinolinium (SPQ) in an N-2-hydroxyethylpiperazine-N'-2-ethanesulfonic acid (HEPES) 2-(N-morpholino)ethanesulfonic acid (MES)-Tris(hydroxymethyl)aminomethane buffer, pH 7.0, decreased as a function of Cl- concentration and/or gluconate concentration, as expected. Contrary to expectation, however, the fluorescence intensity progressively increased as the pH decreased, independently of the presence of gluconate. Consequently, the modulation of SPQ fluorescence by commonly used buffers was investigated as a function of pH. Titration curves demonstrated SPQ quenching and yielded pK values characteristic of each buffer. from here, pH-independent Stern-Volmer constants, KQbase, were calculated for each of the morpholine derivatives, MES and 3-(N-morpholino)-2-hydroxypropanesulfonic acid. In contrast, HEPES and piperazine-N,N'-bis(2-ethanesulfonic acid), which are piperazine derivatives, exhibited an additional pH-independent "molecular" quenching constant KmQ throughout the pH range 3-10. To study chloride fluxes, therefore, what counts is the apparent Cl-Stern-Volmer constant KappCl, which is a function of both pH and buffer composition. Equations describing these relationships are presented. In conclusion, unless both pH and the buffer composition are taken into account, SPQ is unsuitable for studying the concomitant transmembrane fluxes of Cl- and H+.

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