Letter | Published:

Gating currents associated with potassium channel activation

Nature volume 296, pages 657659 (15 April 1982) | Download Citation

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Abstract

The voltage dependence of channel-mediated ion conduction in excitable membranes is thought to be due to rearrangement of charged groups or dipoles within the membrane in response to changes in transmembrane potential1. This charge movement, or gating current (Ig), has been detected in squid giant axons for Na+ channel activation2,3, but no Ig has been detected which has kinetics similar to those of K+ channel activation. This is probably due to the relatively slow time course of K+ channel activation at the temperatures normally used (6–8 °C). We report here that when the temperature is raised to 20–22 °C to increase the rate of channel activation, a new component of Ig is detected which shows kinetics and voltage dependence similar to those of K+ channel activation at the same temperature. In addition, the net charge moved is consistent with estimates of K+ channel density. We suggest that this component of Ig is due to the charge movement associated with the rate-limiting step of K+ channel activation.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Physiology, Ahmanson Laboratory of Neurobiology and Jerry Lewis Neuromuscular Research Center, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90024, USA, and The Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA

    • Francisco Bezanilla
    •  & Michael M. White
  2. Laboratory of Biophysics, National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205, USA, and The Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA

    • Robert E. Taylor

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/296657a0

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