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Ionophores

Ionophores are molecules that facilitate the transport of ions across biological membranes. The words ion and phero originate from the Greek words “to go” and “to carry”. Ionophore literally means charge carriers. Ionophores are produced by microorganisms such as fungi or bacteria or prepared synthetically. They are classified into carrier ionophores or channel-forming ionophores based on their mechanism of action. Carrier ionophores bind to specific ions and form a reversible lipid soluble complex. These complexes diffuse across the hydrophobic membrane and release the ions. Channel-forming ionophores introduce a hydrophilic pore in the membrane and allow ions to pass through the pore without coming in contact with the hydrophobic interior of the membrane.

Ionophores alter the electrochemical gradient and changes the physiological state of the cell such as oxidative phosphorylation, osmotic balance, neurotransmission, cell signaling, hormone action etc. Ionophores have numerous biological and research applications. Well-known ionophore-antibiotics include Valinomycin, Gramicidin, Nigericin, Monensin and Monactin, which kill cells by altering ionic gradients. Valinomycin specifically transports potassium while others transports monovalent cations such as sodium, potassium, hydrogen and ammonium ions. Gramicidin is used as a topical antibiotic and is present in ophthalmic solutions. Ionophores are extensively used in poultry to control coccidiosis disease caused by parasites. Monensin was the first ionophore used to treat coccidiosis. Some ionophores have also shown potent anticancer activity against cancer stem-like cells. Ionophores such as Salinomycin, Nigericin and Lasolocid have been successful in pre-clinical cancer models and are being evaluated in clinical trials.

Many ionophores serve as research tools to study ion transport and alter physiological processes in cells. Ionomycin is a calcium ionophore commonly used to study calcium flux in cells. Carbonyl Cyanide m-Chlorophenyl hydrazone (CCCP) is a hydrogen ionophore, which causes uncoupling of the proton gradient during oxidative phosphorylation. CCCP is used in mitochondrial membrane potential assays. Ionomycin and Monensin are used in combination cocktails to induce cytokine production and inhibit intracellular transport.

BioVision offers several ion-specific ionophores for research and development. BioVision’s products have been well validated by researchers around the world with an increasing number of citations available in scientific publications.


Ionophores

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17 Item(s)

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