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Intracellular Na+ activates a K+ channel in mammalian cardiac cells


In a wide variety of cells, various intracellular agents, such as Ca2+ (refs 1,2), ATP3,4 and cyclic nucleotides5,6, regulate ionic conductances of the membrane. In cardiac cells, the intracellular Na+ concentration ([Na+]i) frequently increases when a disturbance occurs in the electrogenic Na–K pump activity or the Na–Ca exchange mechanism. We have investigated a possible role of [Na+]i in controlling ion channels by using a patch-clamp method7, and have found a K+ channel that is gated by [Na+]i >20mM, but not by the intracellular Ca2+ concentration (10−4M). We report here that the channel has a unitary conductance of 207 ± 19 pS(n = 16) with K+ concentrations of 150 mM outside and 49 mM inside, and shows no detectable voltage-dependent kinetics. The Na+-activated K+ channel represents a novel class of ionic channel.

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Kameyama, M., Kakei, M., Sato, R. et al. Intracellular Na+ activates a K+ channel in mammalian cardiac cells. Nature 309, 354–356 (1984).

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