Numbers in square brackets refer to the List of Publications
Large lipophilic anions are readily absorbed into the lipid bilayer membrane of living cells. As a result, the electrical properties of the cell membrane (conductance and capacitance) are changed. This can be seen by placing the cells in a rotating electric field and observing their rotation as a function of field frequency, conductance of the medium, and concentration of the added anion.
Analysis of the data yields information on the concentration of the anion in the lipid bilayer and its mobility . As it turns out, salts of metal carbonyl anions such as [W(CO)5(CN)]– have a particularly large effect . We have now initiated a program to synthesize new anions of the type [W(CO)5X]–. The group X is chosen as to provide the maximum lipophilicity. This work has numerous implications ranging from a better understanding of the mass transport through lipid membranes to improved methods of cell manipulation [90, 103, 105, 108, 121].