A bursting potassium channel in isolated cholinergic synaptosomes of Torpedo electric organ.

J. Edry‐Schiller, S. Ginsburg, R. Rahamimoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1. Pinched‐off cholinergic nerve terminals (synaptosomes) prepared from the electric organ of Torpedo ocelata were fused into large structures (greater than 20 microns) using dimethyl sulphoxide and polyethylene glycol 1500, as previously described for synaptic vesicles from the same organ. 2. The giant fused synaptosomes were easily amenable to the patch clamp technique and 293 seals with a resistance greater than 4 G omega were obtained in the ‘cell‐attached’ configuration. In a large fraction of the experiments, an ‘inside‐out’ patch configuration was achieved. 3. Several types of unitary ionic currents were observed. This study describes the most frequently observed single‐channel activity which was found in 247 out of the 293 membrane patches (84.3%). 4. The single‐channel current‐voltage relation was linear between ‐60 and 20 mV and showed a slope conductance of 23.8 +/‐ 1.3 pS when the pipette contained 350‐390 mM‐Na+ and the bath facing the inside of the synaptosomal membrane contained 390 mM‐K+. 5. From extrapolated reversal potential measurements, it was concluded that this channel has a large selectivity for K+ over Na+ (70.4 +/‐ 11.5, mean +/‐ S.E.M.). Chloride ions are not transported significantly through this potassium channel. 6. This potassium channel has a low probability of opening. The probability of being in the open state increases upon depolarization and reaches about 1% when the inside of the patch is 20 mV positive compared to the pipette side. 7. The mean channel open time increases with depolarization; thus the product current x time (= charge) also increases upon depolarization, showing properties of an outward rectifier. 8. The potassium channel in the giant synaptosome membrane has a bursting behaviour. Open‐time distribution, closed‐time distribution and a Poisson analysis indicate that the minimal kinetic scheme requires one open state and three closed states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-647
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 1991


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