By applying a rapid filtration technique to isolated brush border membrane vesicles from guinea pig ileum, 36Cl uptake was quantified in the presence and absence of electrical, pH and alkali-metal ion gradients. A mixture of 20 mM-Hepes and 40 mM-citric acid, adjusted to the desired pH with Tris base, was found to be the most suitable buffer. Malate and Mes could be used to replace the citrate, but succinate, acetate and maleate proved to be unsuitable. In the absence of a pH gradient (pHout:pHin = 7.5:7.5), Cl- uptake increased slightly when an inside-positive membrane potential was applied, but uphill transport was never observed. A pH gradient (pHout:pHin = 5.0:7.5) induced both a 400% increase in the initial Cl- influx rate and a long-lasting (20 to 300 s) overshoot, indicating that a proton gradient can furnish the driving force for uphill Cl- transport. Under pH gradient conditions, initial Cl- entry rates had the following characteristics. (1) They were unaffected by cis-Na+ and/or -K+, indicating the absence of Cl-/K+, Cl-/Na+ or Cl-/K+/Na+ symport activity. (2) Inhibition by 20-100 mM-trans-Na+ and/or -K+ occurred, independent of the existence of an ion gradient. (3) Cl- entry was practically unaffected by short-circuiting the membrane potential with equilibrated potassium and valinomycin. (4) Carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone was strongly inhibitory and so, to a lesser extent, was 4-acetamido-4′-isothiocyanostilbene-2,2′-disulphonic acid [(SITS)], independent of the sign and size of the membrane potential. (5) Cl- entry was negligibly increased (less than 30%) by either trans-Cl- or -HCO3-, indicating the absence of an obligatory Cl-/anion antiport activity. In contrast, the height of the overshoot at 60 s was increased by trans-Cl-, indicating time-dependent inhibition of 36Cl efflux. That competitive inhibition of 36Cl fluxes by anions is involved here is supported by initial influx rate experiments demonstrating: (1) the saturability of Cl- influx, which was found to exhibit Michaelis-Menten kinetics; and (2) competitive inhibition of influx by cis-Cl- and -Br-. Quantitatively, the conclusion is warranted that over 85% of the total initial Cl- uptake energized by a pH gradient involves an electroneutral Cl-/H+ symporter or its physicochemical equivalent, a Cl-/OH- antiporter, exhibiting little Cl- uniport and either Cl-/Cl- or Cl-/HCO3- antiport activities.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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