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Biophys J. 1994 Jun;66(6):1833-43.

T-type and N-type calcium channels of Xenopus oocytes: evidence for specific interactions with beta subunits.

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


We used amplifying effects of calcium channel beta subunits to identify endogenous calcium channels in Xenopus oocytes. Expression of rat brain beta 4 increased macroscopic endogenous current magnitude with a small effect on kinetics. In contrast, expression of rat brain/cardiac beta 2 produced a much larger increase in current magnitude and dramatically slowed current decay. Low concentrations of omega-conotoxin GVIA irreversibly blocked currents in both uninjected and beta 2-injected oocytes. Single channel recordings revealed both T- and N-type calcium channels with conductances of 9 and 18 pS, respectively, in uninjected oocytes and in oocytes expressing either beta subunit. Expression of either beta subunit slowed average current decay of T-type single channels. Slowing of T-type current decay by expression of beta 2 was due to reopening of the channels. N-type single channel average current decay showed little change with expression of beta 4, whereas expression of beta 2 slowed average current decay.

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