An enzymatic mechanism for calcium current inactivation in dialysed Helix neurones

Chad, J.E. and Eckert, R. (1986) An enzymatic mechanism for calcium current inactivation in dialysed Helix neurones Journal of Physiology, 378, (Sep 1), pp. 31-51.


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'Wash-out' and inactivation of the Ca current were examined in dialysed, voltage-clamped neurones of Helix aspersa under conditions that isolate the Ca current virtually free of other currents. EGTA or other internal Ca2+ chelators were routinely omitted from the dialysate. The time-dependent loss, or wash-out, of Ca current was slowed by addition to the dialysing solution of agents, such as dibutyryl adenosine 3'-5'-cyclic monophosphate (dibutyryl cyclic AMP), Mg adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP) and the catalytic subunit of cyclic-AMP-dependent protein kinase, that promote protein phosphorylation and by EGTA. However, neither the phosphorylation-promoting agents nor internal EGTA prevented wash-out entirely, nor did they significantly restore previously 'washed-out' current. With phosphorylating agents in the dialysing solution, the irreversible development of wash-out was greatly reduced by introduction of leupeptin, an inhibitor of protease activity. Thus, the irreversible component of wash-out appears to result from a Ca-dependent proteolytic process. In the presence of leupeptin alone, Ca current amplitude continued to decline: however, the current could be largely or fully restored with addition of catalytic subunit, dibutyryl cyclic AMP, and Mg ATP to the dialysing solution. Thus, inhibition of proteolysis revealed a reversible component of wash-out that appears to result from dephosphorylation. During perfusion with leupeptin, Mg ATP, dibutyryl cyclic AMP and catalytic subunit the Ca current remained stable for up to several hours without addition of internal Ca2+ buffer. The rate of inactivation of the current that occurs during a depolarizing step showed only a very gradual decline during this time. Under these conditions, perfusion with calcineurin, a Ca-calmodulin-dependent phosphatase, caused a significant increase in the rate of Ca current inactivation. This inactivation was virtually eliminated by introduction of EGTA or by replacement of external Ca2+ with Ba2+, which is consistent with the ion dependency for calmodulin-dependent activation of calcineurin. When ATP in the dialysate was replaced with ATP-gamma-S (adenosine 5'-O-(thiotriphosphate], an analogue that donates a thiophosphate group resistant to hydrolysis, the rate of inactivation slowed. Since Ca-dependent inactivation during step depolarizations is enhanced by conditions that promote dephosphorylation, and Ca current wash-out is slowed by conditions that promote phosphorylation, inactivation and reversible wash-out appear to be related.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0022-3751 (print)
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ePrint ID: 56814
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September 1986Published
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2008
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 17:40
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