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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Single acetylcholine receptor channel currents recorded at high hydrostatic pressures.

A technique for performing patch-clamp experiments under high hydrostatic (oil) pressure is described. The method allows the transfer of whole cell or membrane patches in a recording configuration into a pressure vessel, where pressure can be increased up to 60 MPa (approximately equal to 600 bar). We have studied in this way the pressure dependence of single acetylcholine receptor channels in excised "outside-out" membrane patches from cultured rat muscle cells. In the range of 0.1 to 60 MPa the open channel conductance in 140 mM NaCl solutions did not vary by more than 2%, which implies that the translocation of sodium ions through the channel pore does not involve steps with significant activation volumes. At high acetylcholine concentrations (20 microM) bursts of single-channel activity allowed measurements of the mean open and mean closed times of the channel. Pressurization to 40 MPa increased both mean open and mean closed times giving apparent activation volumes of about 59 and 139 A3, respectively. This implies a net volume increase of 80 A3, associated with the transition from the agonist-free state to the open state of the channel, which may be partially associated with the agonist-binding step. All the observed pressure effects were reversible. The activation volumes for the gating of acetylcholine receptor channels are comparable to those of sodium and potassium channels in the squid giant axon, suggesting that there is some basic common mechanism in the operation of ion-channel proteins.[1]


  1. Single acetylcholine receptor channel currents recorded at high hydrostatic pressures. Heinemann, S.H., Stühmer, W., Conti, F. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1987) [Pubmed]
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