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Cell. 1991 May 3;65(3):371-80.

A protein-conducting channel in the endoplasmic reticulum.

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Laboratory of Cell Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Rockefeller University, New York, New York 10021-6399.


The existence of a protein-conducting channel in the endoplasmic reticulum membrane was demonstrated by electrophysiological techniques. Pancreatic rough microsome (RM) vesicles were fused to one side (cis) of a planar lipid bilayer separating two aqueous compartments of 50 mM salt. This exposed the cytoplasmic surface of the RMs, with its attached ribosomes, to the cis chamber. Addition of 100 microM puromycin to the cis side caused a large increase in membrane conductance, presumably the result of puromycin-induced clearance of nascent protein chains from the lumen of protein-conducting channels. When puromycin was added at low concentrations (0.33 microM), single channels of 220 pS were observed. These closed when the salt concentration was raised to levels at which ribosomes detach from the membrane (150-400 mM), indicating that the attached ribosome keeps the channel in an open conformation. A mechanism for a complete cycle of opening and closing of the protein-conducting channel is suggested.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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