A new type of nonselective cation channel was identified and characterized in pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells using inside-out and cell-attached patch-clamp recordings. The channel shows a large unitary conductance (274 pS in symmetric 145 mm K+) and selectivity for Na+≈ K+ > Li+, and is practically impermeable to Cl−. The channel activity-voltage relationship is bell-shaped, showing maximal activation at ≈−10 mV. The overall activity of this channel is unmodified by [Na+] ic , or [Ca++] ic . However, increases in [Ca++] ic lead to a decrease in the unitary current amplitude. In addition, overall activity is mildly increased when suction is applied to the back of the patch pipette. Together, these characteristics distinguish the present channel from all other large conductance nonselective cation channels reported so far in a variety of preparations. The frequency of appearance of this channel type is similar in undifferentiated and NGF-treated PC12 cells (≈8–27% of patches). The combination of large conductance, permeability to Na+, and existence of conducting states at negative potentials, may provide a significant pathway for inward current and depolarization in PC12 cells.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 15, 1997
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