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Biophys J. 1996 Aug;71(2):787-94.

Conductance and permeation of monovalent cations through depletion-activated Ca2+ channels (ICRAC) in Jurkat T cells.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of California at Irvine 92717, USA.


We studied monovalent permeability of Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ channels (ICRAC) in Jurkat T lymphocytes following depletion of calcium stores. When external free Ca2+ ([Ca2+]o) was reduced to micromolar levels in the absence of Mg2+, the inward current transiently decreased and then increased approximately sixfold, accompanied by visibly enhanced current noise. The monovalent currents showed a characteristically slow deactivation (tau = 3.8 and 21.6 s). The extent of Na+ current deactivation correlated with the instantaneous Ca2+ current upon readdition of [Ca2+]o. No conductance increase was seen when [Ca2+]o was reduced before activation of ICRAC. With Na+ outside and Cs+ inside, the current rectified inwardly without apparent reversal below 40 mV. The sequence of conductance determined from the inward current at -80 mV was Na+ > Li+ = K+ > Rb+ >> Cs+. Unitary inward conductance of the Na+ current was 2.6 pS, estimated from the ratios delta sigma2/delta Imean at different voltages. External Ca2+ blocked the Na+ current reversibly with an IC50 value of 4 microM. Na+ currents were also blocked by 3 mM Mg2+ or 10 microM La3+. We conclude that ICRAC channels become permeable to monovalent cations at low levels of external divalent ions. In contrast to voltage-activated Ca2+ channels, the monovalent conductance is highly selective for Na+ over Cs+. Na+ currents through ICRAC channels provide a means to study channel characteristics in an amplified current model.

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