Synthetic ionophores able to transport bicarbonate and chloride anions across lipid bilayers are appealing for their wide range of potential biological applications. We have studied the bicarbonate and chloride transport by carbazoles with two amido/thioamido groups using a bicarbonate-sensitive europium(III) probe in liposomes and found a highly remarkable concentration dependence. This can be explained by a combination of two distinct transport mechanisms: HCO3−/Cl− exchange and a combination of unassisted CO2 diffusion and HCl transport, of which the respective contributions were quantified. The compounds studied were found to be highly potent HCl transporters. Based on the mechanistic insights on anion transport, we have tested the antimicrobial activity of these compounds and found good correlation with their ion transport properties and a high activity against Gram-positive bacteria.
Dissecting transmembrane bicarbonate transport by 1,8-di(thio)amidocarbazoles