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, 108 (1), 35-47

Activation of Calcium-Dependent Chloride Channels in Rat Parotid Acinar Cells


Activation of Calcium-Dependent Chloride Channels in Rat Parotid Acinar Cells

J Arreola et al. J Gen Physiol.


The Ca2+ and voltage dependence of Ca(2+)-activated Cl- currents in rat parotid acinar cells was examined with the whole-cell patch clamp technique. Acinar cells were dialyzed with buffered free Ca2+ concentrations ([Ca2+]i) from < 1 nM to 5 microM. Increasing [Ca2+]i induced an increase in Cl- current at all membrane potentials. In cells dialyzed with [Ca2+]i > 25 nM, depolarizing test pulses activated a Cl- current that was composed of an instantaneous and a slow monoexponential component. The steady-state current-voltage relationship showed outward rectification at low [Ca2+]i but became more linear as the [Ca2+]i increased because of a shift in Cl- channel activation toward more negative voltages. The Ca2+ dependence of steady-state channel activation at various membrane voltages was fit by the Hill equation. The apparent Kd and Hill coefficient obtained from this analysis were both functions of membrane potential. The Kd decreased from 417 to 63 nM between -106 and +94 mV, whereas the Hill coefficient was always > 1 and increased to values as large as 2.5 at large positive potentials. We found that a relatively simple mechanistic model can account for the channel steady-state and kinetic behavior. In this model, channel activation involves two identical, independent, sequential Ca2+ binding steps before a final Ca(2+)-independent transition to the conducting conformation. Channel activation proceeds sequentially through three closed states before reaching the open state. The Ca2+ binding steps of this model have a voltage dependence similar to that of the Kd from the Hill analysis. The simplest interpretation of our findings is that these channels are directly activated by Ca2+ ions that bind to sites approximately 13% into the membrane electric field from the cytoplasmic surface.

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