Brush border membrane vesicles, BBMV, from eel intestinal cells or kidney proximal tubule cells were prepared in a low osmolarity cellobiose buffer. The osmotic water permeability coefficient P f for eel vesicles was not affected by pCMBS and was measured at 1.6 × 10−3 cm sec−1 at 23°C, a value lower than 3.6 × 10−3 cm sec−1 exhibited by the kidney vesicles and similar to published values for lipid bilayers. An activation energy E a of 14.7 Kcal mol−1 for water transport was obtained for eel intestine, contrasting with 4.8 Kcal mol−1 determined for rabbit kidney proximal tubule vesicles using the same method of analysis. The high value of E a , as well as the low P f for the eel intestine is compatible with the absence of water channels in these membrane vesicles and is consistent with the view that water permeates by dissolution and diffusion in the membrane. Further, the initial transient observed in the osmotic response of kidney vesicles, which is presumed to reflect the inhibition of water channels by membrane stress, could not be observed in the eel intestinal vesicles. The P f dependence on the tonicity of the osmotic shock, described for kidney vesicles and related to the dissipation of pressure and stress at low tonicity shocks, was not seen with eel vesicles. These results indicate that the membranes from two volume transporter epithelia have different mechanisms of water permeation. Presumably the functional water channels observed in kidney vesicles are not present in eel intestine vesicles. The elastic modulus of the membrane was estimated by analysis of swelling kinetics of eel vesicles following hypotonic shock. The value obtained, 0.79 × 10−3 N cm−1, compares favorably with the corresponding value, 0.87 × 10−3 N cm−1, estimated from measurements at osmotic equilibrium.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 15, 1999
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