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Neuroscience. 1995 Jun;66(4):1001-8.

Block by external calcium and magnesium of the cyclic-nucleotide-activated current in olfactory cilia.

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University of Cincinnati, Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, OH 45267-0521, USA.


Olfactory transduction occurs on the cilia of olfactory receptor neurons, which are in close proximity to the external environment. Transduction is mediated by cyclic AMP, which directly gates channels in the ciliary membrane. Previous evidence indicates that one environmental influence, the level of divalent cations in the mucus, may strongly influence olfactory transduction by blocking the cyclic-AMP-gated channels. In this report the effects of external calcium and magnesium on the ciliary macroscopic current activated by cytoplasmic cyclic AMP were measured. External calcium and magnesium each reduced the cyclic-AMP-activated current at both negative and positive potentials. At the neuronal resting potential (-50 mV), half-maximal inhibition of the current was produced by 250 microM calcium or 1.3 mM magnesium. Reduction in current by external calcium was strongly voltage-dependent, with larger effects at negative potentials. Reduction by magnesium was weaker and less voltage-dependent. Block of the cyclic-AMP-activated current by divalent cations in the mucus may be one element of a system that increases the signal-to-noise ratio for detection of odorants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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