A cytotoxic protein, isolated from Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PACT), was tested on red blood cells of rats and on black lipid membranes for changes of membrane permeability. In rat erythrocytes PACT induces lysis indicative of the formation of a leak permeable to monovalent ions. The dose response curve for the PACT-induced hemolysis demonstrates that the rate of lysis as well as the fraction of lytic cells increases with increasing toxin concentration. Furthermore, the leak pathway discriminates hydrophilic non-electrolytes according to their molecular weight. The findings indicate formation by PACT of a pore with an apparent radius of about 1.2 nm. In pure lipid membranes PACT forms hydrophilic pathways with moderate selectivity for small cations over small anions. The presence of cholesterol is a prerequisite for the occurrence of these PACT-induced permeability changes. © 1985.
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