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J Physiol. 1972 Sep;225(3):529-54.

The resting potential of moth muscle fibre.


1. The membrane of the moth muscle fibre was tested for resting permeability to various ions: it is not permeable to Mg(2+) or Ca(2+); it is slightly permeable to Na(+) and NH(4) (+); it is appreciably permeable to Cl(-), but Cl(-) is passively distributed; it is apparently permeable to H(+) but effects of HCO(3) (-) are not ruled out; and it is primarily permeable to K(+).2. Measurement of the internal K(+) activity showed that E(K) is less negative than the resting potential.3. In the presence of DNP, or under anoxia, the membrane potential approaches, E(K); there is a small concomitant decrease in effective membrane resistance.4. An increase in external Ca(2+) concentration is accompanied by increased effective membrane resistance and an increase in amplitude of the negative resting potential.5. Cooling the membrane (below room temperature) decreased the amplitude of the resting potential by 4-16 mV per 10 degrees C, and was accompanied by a large increase in effective membrane resistance.6. The experimental results most readily fit the hypothesis that the resting potential of the moth muscle fibre, although the membrane is highly permeable to K(+), Cl(-) and apparently to H(+), is primarily maintained by an electrogenic transport process which generates an ionic current across the membrane. The possibility that the concentration gradient of H(+) ions is metabolically maintained at a level sufficient to explain the resting potential was considered to be unlikely but could not be directly excluded.

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