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J Physiol. 1993 Jan;460:741-58.

The permeability of the cGMP-activated channel to organic cations in retinal rods of the tiger salamander.

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  • 1Istituto di Cibernetica e Biofisica, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Genova, Italy.


1. The permeability of the channel activated by guanosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cGMP) to many organic monovalent cations was determined by recording macroscopic currents in excised inside-out patches of plasma membrane from isolated retinal rod outer segments of the tiger salamander. 2. Current-voltage relations were measured when the NaCl of the bathing medium was replaced by salts of organic cations. Permeability ratios relative to Na+ ions were calculated with the Goldman-Hodgkin-Katz potential equation from the measured changes of reversal potentials. 3. Hydroxylammonium+, hydrazinium+ and methylammonium+, which are molecules of very similar shape and size, permeate the channel with very different permeability ratios: 5.92, 1.99 and 0.60 respectively. 4. Methylated and ethylated ammonium+ compounds were investigated. It was found that, not only methylammonium+, but also dimethylammonium+ and ethylammonium+ were permeant with permeability ratios of 0.6, 0.14 and 0.16 respectively. Trimethylammonium+, tetramethylammonium+, diethylammonium+, triethylammonium+, and tetraethylammonium+ were not permeant. 5. Guanidinium+ and its derivatives formamidinium+, aminoguanidinium+, acetamidinium+ and methylguanidinium+ were all permeant with permeability ratios 1.12, 1.00, 0.63, 0.36 and 0.33 respectively. 6. The cGMP-activated channel was found to be permeable to at least thirteen organic cations. Molecular models of the permeant cations indicate that the cross-section of the narrowest part of the pore must be at least as large as a rectangle of 0.38 x 0.5 nm dimensions.

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