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J Physiol. 1991 Nov;443:137-59.

Characterization of a Ca(2+)-dependent anion channel from sheep tracheal epithelium incorporated into planar bilayers.

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Ion Transport Laboratory, National Heart and Lung Institute, London.


1. Anion-selective channels from the apical membrane of respiratory epithelia are involved in the secretion of chloride into the airway lumen. In cystic fibrosis (CF) there is an abnormality of phosphorylation-regulated chloride transport in this tissue, whilst a calcium-dependent pathway appears to function normally. 2. Using incorporation of apical membrane vesicles into planar phospholipid bilayers, we have characterized the most commonly seen anion-selective channel from sheep tracheal epithelium. 3. In symmetrical 200 mM-NaCl solutions the channel showed rectification, with a chord conductance at negative voltages of 107 pS and at positive voltages of 67 pS. The channel characteristically demonstrated subconductance states at 1/3 and 3/4 of the fully open level. Selectivity for chloride over sodium was approximately 6:1. 4. The channel required a minimum of approximately 100 microM-calcium on the presumed cytoplasmic surface (cis) for opening events to be observed. Open probability (Po) of the fully open state was markedly voltage dependent, but little effect of voltage was seen on the 1/3 subconductance state. 5. The relative permeabilities of monovalent anions monitored under bi-ionic conditions gave the following sequence: NO3- greater than I- greater than Cl- = Br- much much greater than F-. The order of conductances in symmetrical solutions was Cl- = NO3- greater than Br- greater than I- much much greater than F-. 6. The chloride channel blocker 5-nitro-2-(3-phenylpropylamino)-benzoate (NPPB) produced a dose-related reduction in Po with a flickering block at 10-50 microM and complete block at higher concentrations. 7. ATP produced a dose-related reduction in Po with effects at 1 microM and complete closing at 1 mM. These effects were only seen with addition to the cis chamber. 8. The catalytic subunit of protein kinase A, either when incubated with vesicles prior to incorporation into bilayers, or when added directly to either chamber, produced no effect. 9. Channels with very similar properties were seen from transfected human tracheo-bronchial cells. 10. Recent whole-cell patch-clamp studies have suggested a distinct calcium-activated chloride current in secretory epithelia. The described channel has properties in common with this current and may be a candidate for its single-channel basis.

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