The negative charge of the plasma membrane (PM) severely affects the nature of moieties that may enter or leave the cells and controls a large number of ion-interaction-mediated intracellular and extracellular events. In this letter, we report our discovery of a most fascinating scenario, where one interface (e.g., membrane-cytosol interface) of the negatively charged PM shows a positive surface (or ζ) potential, while the other interface (e.g., membrane-electrolyte interface) still shows a negative ζ potential. Therefore, we encounter a completely unexpected situation where an interface (e.g., membrane-cytosol interface) that has a negative surface charge density demonstrates a positive ζ potential. We establish that the attainment of such a property by the membrane can be ascribed to an interplay of the nature of the membrane semi-permeability and the electrostatics of the electric double layer established on either side of the charged membrane. We anticipate that such a membrane property can lead to such capabilities of the cell (in terms of accepting or releasing certain kinds of moieties as well regulating cellular signaling) that was hitherto inconceivable.
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Research Article| August 08 2017
Positive zeta potential of a negatively charged semi-permeable plasma membrane
Shayandev Sinha ;
Shayandev Sinha, Haoyuan Jing, Siddhartha Das; Positive zeta potential of a negatively charged semi-permeable plasma membrane. Appl. Phys. Lett. 7 August 2017; 111 (6): 063702. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4989653
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