Detergent induction of HEK 293A cell membrane permeability measured under quiescent and superfusion conditions using whole cell patch clamp.
Detergents have several biological applications but present cytotoxicity concerns, since they can solubilize cell membranes. Using the IonFlux 16, an ensemble whole cell planar patch clamp, we observed that anionic sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), cationic cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB), and cationic, fluorescent octadecyl rhodamine B (ORB) increased the membrane permeability of cells substantially within a second of exposure, under superfusion conditions. Increased permeability was irreversible for 15 min. At subsolubilizing detergent concentrations, patched cells showed increased membrane currents that reached a steady state and were intact when imaged using fluorescence microscopy. SDS solubilized cells at concentrations of 2 mM (2× CMC), while CTAB did not solubilize cells even at concentrations of 10 mM (1000× CMC). The relative activity for plasma membrane current induction was 1:20:14 for SDS, CTAB, and ORB, respectively. Under quiescent conditions, the relative ratio of lipid to detergent in cell membranes at the onset of membrane permeability was 1:7:5 for SDS, CTAB, and ORB, respectively. The partition constants (K) for SDS, CTAB, and ORB were 23000, 55000, and 39000 M(-1), respectively. Combining the whole cell patch clamp data and XTT viability data, SDS ≤ 0.2 mM and CTAB and ORB ≤ 1 mM induced cell membrane permeability without causing acute toxicity.