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Biophys J. 1989 Apr;55(4):779-87.

Interactions of amiloride and small monovalent cations with the epithelial sodium channel. Inferences about the nature of the channel pore.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Cornell University Medical College, New York 10021.


The voltage dependence of amiloride-induced inhibition of current flow through apical membrane sodium channels in toad urinary bladder was studied at different ionic conditions. The "inert" salt N-methyl-D-glucamine HCl (NMDG HCl) affected neither the apparent inhibition constant (Kl) for the amiloride-induced current inhibition nor the apparent fraction of the transmembrane voltage that falls between the mucosal solution and the amiloride-binding site (delta). When NMDG+ was replaced with Na+, Kl increased, reflecting amiloride-Na+ competition, whereas delta was unchanged. Similar results were obtained with another permeant cation, Li+. When NMDG+ was replaced by K+, an impermeant but channel-blocking cation, Kl increased whereas delta decreased. Similar results were obtained using another impermeant, channel-blocking cation guanidinium. The results are interpreted on the premise that Na+ and K+ compete with amiloride by binding to cation binding sites within the channel lumen such that ion occupancy of these sites vary with voltage. Occupancy by K+, which cannot traverse the channel, will increase as the mucosal solution becomes positive, relative to the serosal solution. Occupancy by Na+, which can traverse the channel, is comparatively voltage independent. Ion movement through the channels was simulated using discrete-state kinetic models. Two types of models could describe the shape of the current-voltage relationship and the voltage dependence of the amiloride-induced channel block. One model had a single ion-binding site with a broad energy barrier at the inner (cytoplasmic) side of the site. The other model had two binding sites separated from each other and from the aqueous solutions by sharp energy barriers.

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