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Neuron. 1991 Nov;7(5):797-805.

Role of calcium and protein kinase C in development of the delayed rectifier potassium current in Xenopus spinal neurons.

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Department of Biology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093.


The delayed rectifier current of embryonic Xenopus spinal neurons plays the central role in developmental conversion of calcium-dependent action potentials to sodium-dependent spikes. During its maturation, this potassium current undergoes a pronounced increase in rate of activation. The mechanism underlying the change in kinetics was analyzed with whole-cell voltage clamp of neurons cultured under various conditions. Calcium is necessary at an early stage of development, to permit influx that triggers subsequent release of calcium from intracellular stores. Its action is prevented by depletion of protein kinase C and mimicked by stimulation of the kinase. Calcium influx through voltage-dependent channels at early stages of development regulates the differentiation of potassium current kinetics and modulation of the ionic dependence of action potentials.

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