Eucaryotic nuclei are surrounded by a double-membrane system enclosing a central cisterna which is continuous with the endoplasmic reticulum and serves as a calcium store for intracellular signaling. The envelope regulates protein and nucleic acid traffic between the nucleus and the cytoplasm via nuclear pores. These protein tunnels cross through both nuclear membranes and are permeable for large molecules. Surprisingly, patch clamp recordings from isolated nuclei of different cell species have revealed a high resistance of the envelope, enabling tight seals and the resolution of single ion channel activity. Here we present for the first time single-channel recordings from nuclei prepared from neuronal tissue. Nuclei isolated from rat cerebral cortex displayed spontaneous long-lasting large conductances in the nucleus-attached mode as well as in excised patches. The open times are in the range of seconds and channel activity increases with depolarization. The single-channel conductance in symmetrical K+ is 166 pS. The channels are selective for cations with P K/P Na= 2. They are neither permeable to, nor gated by Ca2+. Thus, neuronal tissue nuclei contain a large conductance ion channel selective for monovalent cations which may contribute to ionic homeostasis in the complex compartments surrounding these organelles.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 15, 1997
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