In leaves of Elodea densa the membrane potential measured in light equals the equilibrium potential of H+ on the morphological upper plasma membrane. The apoplastic pH on the upper side of the leaf is as high as 10.5-11.0, which indicates that alkaline pH induces an increased H+ permeability of the plasmalemma. To study this hypothesis in more detail we investigated the changes in membrane potential and conductance in response to alterations in the external pH from 7 (= control) to 9 or 11 under both light and dark conditions.
Departing from the control pH 7 condition, in light and in dark the application of pH 9 resulted in a depolarization of the membrane potential to the Nernst potential of H+. In the light but not in the dark, this depolarization was followed by a repolarization to about - 160 mV. The change to pH 9 induced, in light as well as in dark, an increase in membrane conductance.
The application of pH 11, which caused a momentary hyperor depolarization depending on the value at the time pH 11 was applied, brought the membrane potential to around - 160 mV. The membrane conductance also increased, in comparison to its value at pH 7, as a result of the application of pH 11, irrespective of the light conditions.
- PLASMA MEMBRANE
- H+ PERMEABILITY
- MEMBRANE POTENTIAL
- MEMBRANE CONDUCTANCE
- LEAF SURFACE