Tetraethylammonium block of Slowpoke calcium-activated potassium channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes: evidence for tetrameric channel formation

Pflugers Arch. 1994 Mar;426(5):440-5. doi: 10.1007/BF00388308.


Unitary currents were recorded from inside-out membrane patches pulled from Xenopus oocytes that had been injected with RNA transcribed from a cDNA encoding the Drosophila maxi-K channel (Slowpoke). Site-directed mutagenesis was used to make cDNAs encoding channel subunits with single amino acid substitutions (Y308V and C309P). The extracellular side of the patch was exposed to tetraethylammonium (TEA) in the pipette solution; unitary currents in the presence of TEA were compared with currents in the absence of TEA to compute the inhibition. Amplitude distributions were fit by beta functions to estimate the blocking and unblocking rate constants. For wild-type channels, TEA blocked with an apparent Kd of 80 microM at 0 mV and sensed 0.18 of the membrane electric field; the voltage dependence lay entirely in the blocking rate constant. TEA blocked currents through C309P channels with a similar affinity to wild-type at 0 mV, but this was not voltage-dependent. Currents through Y308V channels were very insensitive to any block by TEA; the apparent Kd at 0 mV was 26 mM and the blockade sensed 0.18 of the electric field. Oocytes injected with a mixture of RNAs encoding wild-type and Y308V channels showed unitary currents of four discrete amplitudes in the presence of 3 mM TEA; at 40 mV these corresponded to inhibitions of approximately 80%, 55%, 25% and 10%.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / pharmacology*
  • DNA / genetics
  • Female
  • Microinjections
  • Mutation
  • Oocytes / cytology
  • Oocytes / physiology*
  • Potassium Channels / chemistry
  • Potassium Channels / genetics
  • Potassium Channels / physiology*
  • RNA / genetics
  • Tetraethylammonium Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Time Factors
  • Tyrosine / analysis
  • Xenopus / physiology*


  • Potassium Channels
  • Tetraethylammonium Compounds
  • Tyrosine
  • RNA
  • DNA
  • Calcium