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Publication Date


First Advisor

Adam C. Hall

Second Advisor

Robert L. Dorit

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Propofol, Electrophysiology, Fluorescence labeling, Xenopus oocytes, HEK-293


Acid-base balance, otherwise known as pH, is an essential factor towards maintaining normal cellular phenotype and physiology. Although tissue cells can adapt to changes in pH, a highly acidic microenvironment can cause unfavorable conditions to healthy cells. Contrarily, cancer cells thrive in low pH environments, leading to their increased growth and circulation. However, researchers speculate that lower pHs could enhance the effects of reagents commonly used for medical applications such as tumor removal surgeries. Thus, there is a need to better characterize the effects of pH on these reagents. Due to interest in the modulatory role of pH on anesthetics as well as in expanding the versatility of anesthetic analogs, one focus of the Hall lab is to investigate the versatility of a propofol analog, amino-propofol, for novel uses. Prior studies in the Hall lab characterizing para-substituted propofol analogs observed that at lower pH levels, the molecule’s hydroxyl group became protonated, allowing for an increase in lipophilicity. This protonation and increase in lipophilicity could allow amino-propofol to act as a more potent anesthetic and efficient delivery vehicle. To investigate these possibilities, two-microelectrode electrophysiology and fluorescence quantification and localization techniques were used to characterize the effects of pH on amino-propofol’s chloride current modulation and potential to molecularly translocate into cell cytosol. Electrophysiological data suggests that at lower pHs, amino-propofol enhances glycine receptor currents. Further investigation of amino-propofol as a vessel to fluorescently label cell cytosol in low pH environments is proposed to fully understand how pH influences the versatile utility of the novel amino-propofol analog.


©2020 Eun Kyung Kim. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




68 pages : illustrations (some color) Includes bibliographical references (pages 66-68)