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J Physiol. 1995 Nov 1;488 ( Pt 3):689-99.

A voltage-gated chloride channel in ascidian embryos modulated by both the cell cycle clock and cell volume.

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Department of Zoology, University of Washington, Seattle 98195, USA.


1. Eggs of the ascidian Boltenia villosa have an inwardly rectifying Cl- current whose amplitude varies by more than 10-fold during each cell cycle, the largest amplitude being at exit from M-phase. We examined whether this current was also sensitive to changes in cell volume. 2. Cell swelling, produced by direct inflation through a whole-cell recording pipette, greatly increased the amplitude of the Cl- current at all stages of the cell cycle in activated eggs. Swelling was much less effective in unfertilized eggs. 3. The increase in Cl- current amplitude continued for 10-20 min after an increase in diameter that was complete in 10 s, suggesting the involvement of a second messenger system in the response. 4. Treatment of unfertilized eggs with 6-dimethylaminopurine (DMAP), an inhibitor of cell cycle-dependent protein kinases, increased the amplitude of the Cl- current and its sensitivity to swelling to levels characteristic of fertilized eggs. 5. Osmotically produced swelling also increased Cl- current amplitude in unfertilized eggs. 6. We propose that dephosphorylation renders the Cl- channel functional, and that swelling or activation of the egg increases the sensitivity of the channel to dephosphorylation, perhaps by disrupting its links to the cytoskeleton.

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