Xenopus oocyte resting potential, muscarinic responses and the role of calcium and guanosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate

J Physiol. 1984 Jul;352:551-74. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1984.sp015310.


Resting potential (r.p.) and muscarinic response mechanisms were studied in Xenopus laevis oocytes using the voltage-clamp technique. Insertion of micro-electrodes into the oocyte produced a 'shunt' membrane conductance which partially sealed after a few minutes. The oocyte resting potential (measured with a single intracellular electrode) ranged from -40 to -60 mV. Ouabain and low K+ solution depolarized both follicles and denuded oocytes. The electrogenic Na+-K+ pump was more active in the latter. In the presence of ouabain, the r.p. agreed with the constant field theory. alpha (PNa+/PK+) was 0.12 in follicles and 0.24 in denuded oocytes. beta (PCl-/PK+) was 0.4 in both. At [Na+]o lower than 70 mM, the r.p. deviated considerably from the constant field predictions. The relatively large value of alpha indicated the major role of Na+ in oocyte r.p. determination. The oocyte muscarinic response was separated into four distinct components: the fast depolarizing Cl- current, 'D1'; the slow depolarizing Cl- current, 'D2'; the slow hyperpolarizing K+ current, 'H'; and the large membrane Cl- current fluctuation, 'F'. The H response reversal potential showed a Nernst relationship to [K+] and was selectively blocked by intracellular injection of tetraethylammonium (TEA). The D1 and D2 reversal potential showed a Nernst relationship to [Cl-]. In Ca2+-deficient, EGTA-containing medium, D2 and F were abolished and D1 and H were reduced. Verapamil inhibited all responses. Increasing [Ca2+]o caused a significant increase in D1, D2 and F response amplitudes. Intracellular injection of 0.6-10 pmol guanosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate, induced a large outward K+ current, similar to the muscarinic H response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / pharmacology*
  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Calcium / pharmacology*
  • Cell Membrane Permeability
  • Chlorides / metabolism
  • Cyclic GMP / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Oocytes / metabolism
  • Oocytes / physiology*
  • Ouabain / pharmacology
  • Potassium / metabolism
  • Sodium / metabolism
  • Tetraethylammonium
  • Tetraethylammonium Compounds / pharmacology
  • Time Factors
  • Verapamil / pharmacology
  • Xenopus laevis


  • Chlorides
  • Tetraethylammonium Compounds
  • Ouabain
  • Tetraethylammonium
  • Sodium
  • Verapamil
  • Cyclic GMP
  • Acetylcholine
  • Potassium
  • Calcium