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

Pyrazine compounds and the measurement of cytosolic Ca2+.

Several of the pyrazine derivatives are widely used for inhibiting sodium flux via Na+/Ca2+ exchange or Na+/H+ exchangers or through the epithelial cation channels. These processes can profoundly affect cytosolic Ca2+. We found that the widely used fluorescent probes fura-2 and indo-1 could not be used to measure the effect of pyrazine analogs on the cytosolic free calcium ([Ca2+]i) of YAC-1 lymphoma cells treated with the pore-forming protein cytolysin/perforin. We show that the excitation spectra of pyrazine derivatives that specifically inhibit Na+/Ca2+ exchange [5-(N-4-chlorobenzyl)-2',4'-dimethylbenzamil], Na+/H+ exchange [5-(N-ethyl-N-isopropyl)-amiloride], and Na+ channels (phenamil) overlap with those of fura-2 and indo-1. In the presence of Ca2+, fluorescence readings for fura-2 plus drug are greater than those of fura-2 alone with the typically used 340- and 380-nm excitation light wavelengths; F380 readings were more affected than F340 readings. The effect was drug dose dependent. Hence, calculations that use F340 readings in the presence of pyrazine derivatives will result in overestimates of [Ca2+]i, while those that use the corresponding ratio readings, R340/380, will result in underestimates of [Ca2+]i. We found that the luminescent intracellular Ca2+ indicator aequorin could be used successfully with pyrazine derivatives, and that the ability of these compounds to enhance cytolysin/perforin-mediated increases in [Ca2+]i corresponded to their previously reported ability to inhibit Na+/Ca2+ exchange in pituitary cell plasma membrane vesicles. YAC-1 lymphoma cells are easy to culture and handle and may be a useful model for the studies of the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger in situ.[1]


  1. Pyrazine compounds and the measurement of cytosolic Ca2+. Kraut, R.P., Greenberg, A.H., Cragoe, E.J., Bose, R. Anal. Biochem. (1993) [Pubmed]
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