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J Insect Physiol. 2002 Mar;48(3):375-386.

Membrane conductances of principal cells in Malpighian tubules of Aedes aegypti.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, VRT 8014, Cornell University, 14853, Ithaca, NY, USA


Two-electrode voltage clamp (TEVC) methods were used to explore conductive transport pathways in principal cells, the dominant cell type in Malpighian tubules of the yellow fever mosquito. The basolateral membrane of principal cells had a voltage (V(bl)) of -85.1 mV in 49 principal cells under control conditions. Measures of the input resistance R(pc) together with membrane fractional resistance yielded estimates of the conductance of the basolateral membrane (g(bl) = 1.48 &mgr;S) and the apical membrane (g(a) = 3.13 &mgr;S). K(+) channels blocked by barium accounted for 0.94 &mgr;S of g(bl). Estimates of transference numbers yielded the basolateral membrane Na(+) conductance of 0.24 &mgr;S, leaving 0.30 &mgr;S (20%) of g(bl) unaccounted. The secretagogue db-cAMP (0.1 mM), a known activator of the basolateral membrane Na(+) conductance, significantly depolarized V(bl) to -65.0 mV and significantly increased g(bl) from 1.48 &mgr;S to 2.47 &mgr;S. The increase was blocked with amiloride (1 mM), a known blocker of epithelial Na(+) transport. The inhibition of metabolism with di-nitrophenol significantly depolarized V(bl) to -9.7 mV and significantly increased R(pc) from 391.6 kOmega to 2612.5 kOmega. Similar results were obtained with cyanide, but it remains unclear whether the large increases in R(pc) stem from the uncoupling of epithelial cells and/or the shutdown of conductive transport pathways in basolateral and apical membranes. Our results indicate that the apical membrane of principal cells is more than twice as conductive as the basolateral membrane. Partial ionic conductances suggest the rate-limiting step for transepithelial Na(+) secretion at the basolateral membrane.

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