Zinc-dependent action potentials in giant neurons of the snail, Euhadra quaestia

J Membr Biol. 1979 Sep 14;49(4):325-44. doi: 10.1007/BF01868990.


In giant neurons of subesophageal ganglion of the Japanese land snail, Euhadra quaestia Deshayes, permeation of Zn ions through Ca channels were investigated with a conventional current clamp method. All-or-none action potentials of long duration (90 to 120 sec) were evoked in 24 mM Zn containing salines. The overshoots were about +10 mV and the maximum rate of rises (MRRs) was about 2.9 V/sec. The amplitudes and the MRRs of the action potentials depended on external Zn ion concentrations. The action potentials were suppressed by specific Ca-channel inhibitors such as Co2+, La3+ and Verapamil, but they were resistant to Na-channel inhibitor, tetrodotoxin, even at 30 microM. It is concluded that these action potentials are generated by Zn ions permeating Ca channels in snail neuronal membrane. On the basis of Hagiwara and Takahashi's (S. Hagiwara & K. Takahashi, 1967, J. Gen. Physiol. 50:583) model of Ca channels, it is inferred that Zn ions are 5 to 10 times stronger in affinity to Ca channels than Ca ions, but 10 to 20 times less permeable.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials* / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Cobalt / pharmacology
  • Ion Channels* / drug effects
  • Lanthanum / pharmacology
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Snails
  • Verapamil / pharmacology
  • Zinc / metabolism
  • Zinc / physiology*


  • Ion Channels
  • Cobalt
  • Lanthanum
  • Verapamil
  • Zinc
  • Calcium