The concept of electrical circuit analysis is extended to include components found in membrane ionic transport systems. As in classical electrical equivalent circuits, resistors and capacitors are used to represent ion channels and the membrane capacitances, respectively; batteries represent energy sources driven by chemical reactions. In the extensions proposed, energy stored in various ionic concentrations is treated as charges on compartmental capacitors; symporters and antiporters are treated as energy-coupling devices analogous to transformers in alternating current electrical circuits. Pumps are shown to be special cases of porters in which the input circuit derives its energy from a chemical reaction. Using these components, circuit diagrams are drawn for several examples of membrane ion transport systems. By applying appropriate circuit analysis techniques, these diagrams facilitate the quantitative description of the energy distributions throughout the system.

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