Structural Characterization of Valinomycin and Nonactin at the Air- Solution Interface by Grazing Incidence X-ray Diffraction Academic Article uri icon


  • Grazing incidence X-ray diffraction (GID) has been applied to the study of structural characteristics of two-dimensional crystallites of the ionophores valinomycin (VM) and nonactin (NA) when complexed with various cations at the air-solution interface. The VM complexes assume a bracelet shape that packs in a two-dimensional hexagonal unit cell. Other crystalline phases were formed on potassium iodide and barium perchlorate solutions. The presence of particular lipids induced ordered stacking of VM−potassium chloride complexes into three to four layers. NA packs in a pseudotetragonal unit cell on solutions of NH4SCN and KSCN. Upon compression of the NA−NH4SCN film, crystallites seven to eight layers thick were detected and the GID data enabled the determination of the structure. The tendency of these complexed ionophores to form multilayer crystallites at interfaces may have bearing on ion transport through membranes, via stacking.

publication date

  • November 19, 1997