When intracellular chloride activity (aiCl) was monitored with chloride-sensitive liquid ion exchanges (CLIX) microelectrodes in Balanus photoreceptors, replacement of extracellular chloride (Cl0) by methanesulfonate or glutamate was followed by a rapid but incomplete loss of aiCl. When propionate was used as the extracellular anion substitute, CLIX electrodes detected an apparent gain in aiCl, while a newly designed Ag-AgCl wire-in glass microelectrode showed a loss of aiCl under the same conditions. This discrepancy in Cl- washout when propionate replaced Cl0 is explained by the differences in selectivity of CLIX and Ag-AgCl electrodes for native intracellular anions and for the extracellular anion substitute which also replaces Cli and interferes in the determination of aiCl. Both electrodes indicate that ECl approximately Em when the cells are bathed in normal barnacle saline, and both electrodes showed the rate of Cl washout (tau approximately 5 min) to be independent of Cli when Cl0 was replaced by glutamate. Details of Ag-AgCl microelectrode construction are presented. These electrodes were tested and found to be insensitive to the organic anion substitutes used in this study. Selectivity data of CLIX electrodes for several anions of biological interest are described.

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