Calcium channels in planar lipid bilayers: insights into mechanisms of ion permeation and gating

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Science  28 Mar 1986:
Vol. 231, Issue 4745, pp. 1564-1566
DOI: 10.1126/science.2420007


Electrophysiological recordings were used to analyze single calcium channels in planar lipid bilayers after membranes from bovine cardiac sarcolemmal vesicles had been incorporated into the bilayer. In these cell-free conditions, channels in the bilayer showed unitary barium or calcium conductances, gating kinetics, and pharmacological responses that were similar to dihydropyridine-sensitive calcium channels in intact cells. The open channel current varied in a nonlinear manner with voltage under asymmetric (that is, physiological) ionic conditions. However, with identical solutions on both sides of the bilayer, the current-voltage relation was linear. In matched experiments, calcium channels from skeletal muscle T-tubules differed significantly from cardiac calcium channels in their conductance properties and gating kinetics.