Membran Potential Sensors

Membrane potential is the difference in voltage between the interior and exterior of a cell. Increases and decreases in membrane potential play a central role in many physiological processes, including nerve-impulse propagation, muscle contraction and cell signaling. Potentiometric probes are important tools for studying these processes and are generally characterized as slow- or fast-response probes. Molecules that change their structure in response to the surrounding electric field can function as fast-response probes for the detection of transient potential changes. Slow-response dyes function by entering depolarized cells and binding to proteins or membranes. Important for cell biology research are specific probes for mitochondrial membrane potential measurement.