This review describes two families of ion transporters: the lariat ethers and the hydraphiles. The lariat ethers transport ions as carriers and hydraphiles of appropriate length form pores in bilayer membranes. Hydraphiles insert into liposomes and into the bilayers of bacteria and yeast causing toxicity at micromolar concentrations. Toxicity corresponds to channel length and ion transport efficacy. Toxicity of lariat ethers to bacteria has also been found. At lower concentrations, the presence of hydraphiles enhances antibiotic potency of erythromycin, kanamycin, rifampicin, and tetracycline against both Gram negative and Gram positive bacteria. When hydraphiles are added to the growth medium, the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana undergoes significant alterations in growth and root architecture.
Keywords: Antibiotic, Arabidopsis thaliana, bacteria, hydraphile, ion transport, lariat ether, root morphology, toxicity.