Mechanism of anion permeation through channels gated by glycine and gamma‐aminobutyric acid in mouse cultured spinal neurones.

J. Bormann, O. P. Hamill, B. Sakmann

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1. The ion‐selective and ion transport properties of glycine receptor (GlyR) and gamma‐aminobutyric acid receptor (GABAR) channels in the soma membrane of mouse spinal cord neurones were investigated using the whole‐cell, cell‐attached and outside‐out patch versions of the patch‐clamp technique. 2. Current‐voltage (I‐V) relations of transmitter‐activated currents obtained from whole‐cell measurements with 145 mM‐Cl‐ intracellularly and extracellularly, showed outward rectification. In voltage‐jump experiments, the instantaneous I‐V relations were linear, and the steady‐state I‐V relations were rectifying outwardly indicating that the gating of GlyR and GABAR channels is voltage sensitive. 3. The reversal potential of whole‐cell currents shifted 56 mV per tenfold change in internal Cl‐ activity indicating activation of Cl(‐)‐selective channels. The permeability ratio of K+ to Cl‐ (PK/PCl) was smaller than 0.05 for both channels. 4. The permeability sequence for large polyatomic anions was formate greater than bicarbonate greater than acetate greater than phosphate greater than propionate for GABAR channels; phosphate and propionate were not measurably permeant in GlyR channels. This indicates that open GlyR and GABAR channels have effective pore diameters of 5.2 and 5.6 A, respectively. The sequence of relative permeabilities for small anions was SCN‐ greater than I‐ greater than Br‐ greater than Cl‐ greater than F‐ for both channels. 5. GlyR and GABAR channels are multi‐conductance‐state channels. In cell‐attached patches the single‐channel slope conductances close to 0 mV membrane potential were 29, 18 and 10 pS for glycine, and 28, 17 and 10 pS for GABA‐activated channels. The most frequently observed (main) conductance states were 29 and 17 pS for the GlyR and GABAR channel, respectively. 6. In outside‐out patches with equal extracellular and intracellular concentrations of 145 mM‐Cl‐, the conductance states were 46, 30, 20 and 12 pS for GlyR channels and 44, 30, 19 and 12 pS for GABAR channels. The most frequently occurring main state was 46 pS for the GlyR and 30 pS for the GABAR channel. 7. Single‐channel conductances measured in equal 140 mM concentrations of small anions on both membrane faces revealed a conductance sequence of Cl‐ greater than Br‐ greater than I‐ greater than SCN‐ greater than F‐ for both channels. This is nearly the inverse sequence of that found for the permeability of these ions indicating the presence of binding sites for ions in the channel.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-286
Number of pages44
JournalThe Journal of Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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