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J Physiol. 1995 Jul 15;486 ( Pt 2):323-37.

ATP-activated inward current and calcium-permeable channels in rat macrophage plasma membranes.

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  • 1Institute of Cytology, Russian Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg.


1. To study mechanisms of receptor-operated Ca2+ influx in non-excitable cells, membrane currents of rat peritoneal macrophages were recorded using whole-cell cell-attached and outside-out configurations of the patch clamp technique. Under whole-cell recording conditions, ATP applied in micromolar concentrations elicited an inward current response when the bath solution contained Ba2+, Ca2+ or Na+ as the only permeant cations. 2. Increasing the Mg2+ concentration had an inhibitory effect on the ATP-induced inward current indicating that the active form of ATP responsible for the cation entry is ATP4-. The nucleotide potency order was ATP > ATP gamma S > ADP. UTP was completely ineffective (n = 19). The data obtained are consistent with the ATP receptor being of the P2Z type. 3. The macrophage plasma membrane was impermeable to Tris+ during the ATP-induced current at ATP4- concentrations varying from 0.07 to 500 microM. At higher concentrations, ATP produced a large inward steady-state current, which could be attributed to membrane permeabilization. 4. Activity of single channels was recorded when ATP was applied to the external surface of the patch membrane both in cell-attached and outside-out experiments. A specific property of the channels appeared to be the existence of at least four conductance sublevels. With 105 mM Ba2+ as the permeant cation, the conductance sublevels were 3.5, 7, 10 and 15 pS. With 10 mM Ca2+ the sublevel conductances were equal to 4, 9, 13 and 17 pS. 5. The unitary conductance estimated from the whole-cell current noise analysis (3.5-4.5 pS for 105 mM Ba2+) was significantly lower than that obtained from single channel measurements at the main (3rd) current level, but it was very close to the conductance of the minimum (1st) level. 6. Extrapolated reversal potential values estimated from current-voltage curves for predominant conductance levels were equal to +40 and +26 mV for 105 mM Ba2+ and 10 mM Ca2+, respectively. The permeability ratios fell in the sequence: PCa:PBa:PK = 71.:29:1. Thus, ATP-activated channels in the macrophage membrane are rather selective for divalent vs. monovalent cations, with the predominant permeability being for Ca2+.

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