A 107-pS (symmetrical 150 mM KCl), nonselective cation channel was reconstituted from a microsomal membrane fraction of the larval stage of the tapeworm Echinococcus granulosus. Most of the time, it displayed a high open probability (>0.95) irrespective of either the applied voltage, Ca2+, Ba2+, or tetraethylammonium concentration. Nevertheless, in contrast with this 'leaklike' behavior, less frequently this 'all-the-time-open' channel reversibly entered two different kinetic modes. One of them was characterized by lower P(o) values and some voltage sensitivity (V( 1/4 ) ≃ 129 mV, and an equilibrium constant for channel closing changing e-fold per 63-mV change) the kinetic analysis revealing that it resulted from the appearance of voltage-sensitivity in the mean closed times and a sixfold increase in the equilibrium constant for channel closing at 0 mV. The other mode was characterized by a very fast open-close activity leading to poorly resolved current levels and a P(o) around 0.6-0.7 which, occasionally and in a voltage-sensitive manner, entered a long-lived nonconducting state. However, the rare nature of these mode-shifting transitions precluded a more detailed analysis of their kinetics. The conductive properties of the channel were not affected by these switches. Model gating alone does not seem to ensure any physiological role of this channel and, instead, some other channel changes must occur if this phenomenon were to be of regulatory importance in vivo. Thus, mode-shifting might constitute an alternative target for channel activity modulation also in tapeworms.
- Echinococcus granulosus
- Modal gating
- Non-selective cation channels
- Planar lipid bilayer reconstitution
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology