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Neuroscience. 1998 May;84(2):529-35.

Involvement of phosphatase activities in the run-down of GABA(A) receptor function in rat cerebellar granule cells in culture.

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  • 1I.N.F.M., Dipartimento di Fisica dell'Universit√† di Genova, Italy.


Run-down of GABA activated Cl- currents was found when rat cerebellar granule cells in culture were studied by the whole-cell patch-clamp technique in the absence of ATP in the pipette medium. This event could be prevented, even in the absence of ATP, by using the perforated-patch technique or by adding to the pipette medium either a blocker of protein tyrosine phosphatase, sodium vanadate, or deltamethrin, a blocker of the protein serine/threonine phosphatase calcineurin. Conversely, run-down could be partially induced, even in the presence of ATP, by blockers of tyrosine kinases. A reduction of GABA(A) receptor activity was also found in outside-out membrane patches when ATP was not on the membrane inside. The run-down phenomenon involved all three conductance levels found in these patches: 11, 20 and 30 pS. In all three cases it was due to a reduction of channels' open probability. The single-channel experiments showed that also in this case run-down was prevented by either sodium vanadate or deltamethrin on the membrane cytoplasmic side. Overall, through relatively unphysiological conditions (cells in culture and patch-clamp techniques), the study of the run-down phenomenon shows that the tyrosine phosphorylation state of GABA(A) receptors is of importance in maintaining it in a proper functional state. The data also show that tyrosine phosphorylation state is controlled by a protein tyrosine phosphatase, whose activity in turn is blocked via serine/threonine phosphorylation.

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