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Biophys J. 1995 Nov;69(5):1847-57.

Trypsin increases availability and open probability of cardiac L-type Ca2+ channels without affecting inactivation induced by Ca2+.

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Institute for Biophysics, University of Linz, Austria.


The patch-clamp technique was employed to investigate the response of single L-type Ca2+ channels to the protease trypsin applied to the intracellular face of excised membrane patches from guinea pig ventricular myocytes. Calpastatin and ATP were used to prevent run-down of Ca2+ channel activity monitored with 96 mM Ba2+ as charge carrier in the presence of 2.5 microM (-)-BAYK 8644. Upon application of trypsin (100 micrograms/ml) channel activity was enhanced fourfold and remained elevated upon removal of trypsin, as expected of a proteolytic, irreversible modification. The trypsin effect was not mediated by a proteolytic activation of protein kinases, as evidenced by the insensitivity of this effect to protein kinase inhibitors. Trypsin-modified Ca2+ channels exhibited the usual run-down phanomenon upon removal of calpastatin and ATP. In ensemble average currents trypsin-induced changes of channel function are apparent as a threefold increase in peak current and a reduction in current inactivation. At the single channel level these effects were based on about a twofold increase in both Ca2+ channels' availability and open probability. Neither the actual number of channels in the patch nor their unitary conductance as well as reversal potential was changed by trypsin. The Ca(2+)-induced inactivation was not impaired, as judged by a comparable sensitivity of trypsin-modified Ca2+ channels to intracellular Ca2+. Similarly, trypsin treatment did not affect the sensitivity of Ca2+ channels to phenylalkylmine inhibition. The observed alterations in channel function are discussed in terms of possible structural correlates.

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