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Biophys J. 1994 Apr;66(4):996-1010.

Gating of Shaker K+ channels: I. Ionic and gating currents.

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Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030.


Ionic and gating currents from noninactivating Shaker B K+ channels were studied with the cut-open oocyte voltage clamp technique and compared with the macropatch clamp technique. The performance of the cut-open oocyte voltage clamp technique was evaluated from the electrical properties of the clamped upper domus membrane, K+ tail current measurements, and the time course of K+ currents after partial blockade. It was concluded that membrane currents less than 20 microA were spatially clamped with a time resolution of at least 50 microseconds. Subtracted, unsubtracted gating currents with the cut-open oocyte voltage clamp technique and gating currents recorded in cell attached macropatches had similar properties and time course, and the charge movement properties directly obtained from capacity measurements agreed with measurements of charge movement from subtracted records. An accurate estimate of the normalized open probability Po(V) was obtained from tail current measurements as a function of the prepulse V in high external K+. The Po(V) was zero at potentials more negative than -40 mV and increased sharply at this potential, then increased continuously until -20 mV, and finally slowly increased with voltages more positive than 0 mV. Deactivation tail currents decayed with two time constants and external potassium slowed down the faster component without affecting the slower component that is probably associated with the return between two of the closed states near the open state. In correlating gating currents and channel opening, Cole-Moore type experiments showed that charge moving in the negative region of voltage (-100 to -40 mV) is involved in the delay of the conductance activation but not in channel opening. The charge moving in the more positive voltage range (-40 to -10 mV) has a similar voltage dependence to the open probability of the channel, but it does not show the gradual increase with voltage seen in the Po(V).

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