A pH-sensitive cAMP-gated cation current (INa,cAMP) is widely distributed in neurons of the feeding motor networks of gastropods. In the sea slug Pleurobranchaea this current is potentiated by nitric oxide (NO), which itself is produced by many feeding neurons. The action of NO is not dependent on either cGMP or cAMP signaling pathways. However, we found that NO potentiation of INa,cAMP in the serotonergic metacerebral cells could be blocked by intracellular injection of MOPS buffer (pH 7.2). In neurons injected with the pH indicator BCECF, NO induced rapid intracellular acidification to several tenths of a pH unit. Intracellular pH has not previously been identified as a specific target of NO, but in this system NO modulation of INa,cAMP via pHi may be an important regulator of the excitability of the feeding motor network.
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