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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1988 Jun;85(12):4290-4.

Purified skeletal muscle 1,4-dihydropyridine receptor forms phosphorylation-dependent oligomeric calcium channels in planar bilayers.

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Institute for Biophysics, University of Linz, Austria.


The purified 1,4-dihydropyridine receptor from skeletal muscle has been incorporated into planar bilayers, and its channel characteristics have been investigated. Conductances showed the characteristics of an L-type Ca2+ channel: divalent cation selectivity (PBa/PNa approximately equal to 30), blockage of Na+ conductance by micromolar Ca2+, and blockage of the Ca2+ channel by D890 and by Cd2+. The alpha 1 subunit of the receptor must be phosphorylated by the cAMP-dependent protein kinase to give channel activity. BAY K 8644 did not activate nonphosphorylated channels, and (+)-PN200-110 caused dramatic prolongation of mean open times when applied after phosphorylation. Channel properties were found to be dependent on association of receptor molecules in the bilayer. Single receptor molecules form channels of 0.9 pS (100 mM Ba2+) and show no voltage-dependent gating. Upon association, both voltage-dependent gating and higher conductance events are recovered; stabilized conductance levels assume values of even multiples of 0.9 pS, predominately 7.5 and 15 pS and multiples of these values up to 60 pS. Thus, individual channels become functionally coupled (synchronous opening and closing) with association, reinstating the characteristics of one larger unitary channel. It is concluded that the L-type Ca2+ channel represents an oligomer of 1,4-dihydropyridine-receptor protein complexes, each of which constitutes a channel, where the array of channels (oligochannel) opens and closes in concerted action.

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