Potentiometric dyes are useful tools for studying membrane potential changes from compartments inaccessible to direct electrical recordings. In the past, we have combined electrophysiological and optical techniques to investigate, by using absorbance and fluorescence potentiometric dyes, the electrical properties of the transverse tubular system in amphibian skeletal muscle fibers. In this paper we expand on recent observations using the fluorescent potentiometric indicator di-8-ANEPPS to investigate structural and functional properties of the transverse tubular system in mammalian skeletal muscle fibers. Two-photon laser scanning confocal fluorescence images of live muscle fibers suggest that the distance between consecutive rows of transverse tubules flanking the Z-lines remains relatively constant in muscle fibers stretched to attain sarcomere lengths of up to 3.5 μm. Furthermore, the combined use of two-microelectrode electrophysiological techniques with microscopic fluorescence spectroscopy and imaging allowed us to compare the spectral properties of di-8-ANEPPS fluorescence in fibers at rest, with those of fluorescence transients recorded in stimulated fibers. We found that although the indicator has excitation and emission peaks at 470 and 588 nm, respectively, fluorescence transients display optimal fractional changes (13%/100 mV) when using filters to select excitation wavelengths in the 530–550 nm band and emissions beyond 590 nm. Under these conditions, results from tetanically stimulated fibers and from voltage-clamp experiments suggest strongly that, although the kinetics of di-8-ANEPPS transients in mammalian fibers are very rapid and approximate those of the surface membrane electrical recordings, they arise from the transverse tubular system membranes.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2005
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