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Nature. 1980 Mar 27;284(5754):360-3.

Low intracellular pH and chemical agents slow inactivation gating in sodium channels of muscle.


Excitation of nerve or muscle requires an orderly opening and closing of molecular pores, the ionic channels, in the plasma membrane. During the action potential, Na channels are opened (activated) by the advancing wave of depolarisation, contributing a pulse of inward sodium current, and then are closed again (inactivated) by the continued depolarisation. As one approach both to obtaining molecular information on the Na channel and towards further defining the recently discovered kinetic interactions of the inactivation and activation gating steps, we have surveyed here the effects of chemical agents reported to slow or prevent Na channel inactivation. We find that many of the agents studied by others on invertebrate giant axons or vertebrate nerve act on our frog skeletal muscle preparation. In addition, we have discovered that simply lowering the intracellular pH nearly eliminates inactivation. The activation mechanism seems to resist modification.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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