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Biophys J. 1994 Apr;66(4):1051-60.

Calcium-dependent inactivation of L-type calcium channels in planar lipid bilayers.

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Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 27599.


Intracellular Ca2+ can inhibit the activity of voltage-gated Ca channels by modulating the rate of channel inactivation. Ca(2+)-dependent inactivation of these channels may be a common negative feedback process important for regulating Ca2+ entry under physiological and pathological conditions. This article demonstrates that the inactivation of cardiac L-type Ca channels, reconstituted into planar lipid bilayers and studied in the presence of a dihydropyridine agonist, is sensitive to Ca2+. The rates and extents of inactivation, determined from ensemble averages of unitary Ba2+ currents, decreased when the calcium concentration facing the intracellular surface of the channel ([Ca2+]i) was lowered from approximately 10 microM to 20 nM by the addition of Ca2+ chelators. The rates and extents of Ba2+ current inactivation could also be increased by subsequent addition of Ca2+ raising the [Ca2+]i to 15 microM, thus demonstrating that the Ca2+ dependence of inactivation could be reversibly regulated by changes in [Ca2+]i. In addition, reconstituted Ca channels inactivated more quickly when the inward current was carried by Ca2+ than when it was carried by Ba2+, suggesting that local increases in [Ca2+]i could activate Ca(2+)-dependent inactivation. These data support models in which Ca2+ binds to the channel itself or to closely associated regulatory proteins to control the rate of channel inactivation, and are inconsistent with purely enzymatic models for channel inactivation.

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