Interactions of permeant cations with sodium channels of squid axon membranes

D. Yamamoto*, J. Z. Yeh, T. Narahashi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


To determine how the permeant cations interact with the sodium channel, the instantaneous current-voltage (I-V) relationship, conductance-ion concentration relationship, and cation selectivity of sodium channels were studied with internally perfused, voltage clamped squid giant axons in the presence of different permeant cations in the external solution. In Na-containing media, the instantaneous I-V curve was almost linear between +60 and -20 mV, but deviated from the linearity in the direction to decrease the current at more negative potentials. The linearity of instantaneous I-V curve extended to more negative potentials with lowering the external Ca concentration. The I-V curve in Li solution was almost the same as that in Na solution. The linearity of the I-V curve improved in NH4 solution exhibiting only saturation at -100 mV with no sign of further decrease in current at more negative potentials. Guanidine and formamidine further linearized the instantaneous I-V curve. The conductance of the sodium channels as measured from the tail current saturated at high concentrations of permeant cations. The apparent dissociation constants determined from the conductance-ion concentration curve at -60 mV were as follows: Na, 378 mM; Li, 247 mM; NH4, 174 mM; guanidine, 111 mM; formamidine, 103 mM. The ratio of the test cation permeability to the sodium permeability as measured from the reversal potentials of tail currents varied with the test cation concentration and/or the membrane potential. These observations are incompatible with the independence principle, and can be explained on the basis of the Eyring's rate theory.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-368
Number of pages8
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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