The effects of Ag(I) and Hg(II) on membrane potential and integrity of cells of Candida albicans and C. maltosa were determined with a flow cytometric procedure that employed an anionic membrane potential-sensitive dye, bis-(1,3-dibutylbarbituric acid) trimethine oxonol, and a membrane integrity indicator, propidium iodide. The membrane potentials of cells of both species were reduced rapidly within 15 min of exposure to Ag(I). No threshold dose for Hg(II) existed, and cells of both species lost membrane potential gradually in Hg(II) solutions. Cells of both species lost membrane integrity more rapidly in Ag(I) solutions than in Hg(II) solutions. In Ag(I) solutions, the decrease in the numbers of cells recoverable in culture occurred at a rate similar to the rate of cell depolarization and membrane permeabilization. In Hg(II) solutions, loss of cell recoverability preceded the loss of membrane potential and membrane integrity. C. albicans, in contrast to C. maltosa, showed no loss of membrane integrity after exposure to Hg(II) solutions for 1 h. Different rates of binding of Ag(I) and Hg(II) between the two species suggest that the two ions target different primary sites
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