Measurement of single channel currents from cardiac gap junctions

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Science  29 Aug 1986:
Vol. 233, Issue 4767, pp. 972-974
DOI: 10.1126/science.2426781


Cardiac gap junctions consist of arrays of integral membrane proteins joined across the intercellular cleft at points of cell-to-cell contact. These junctional proteins are thought to form pores through which ions can diffuse from cytosol to cytosol. By monitoring whole-cell currents in pairs of embryonic heart cells with two independent patch-clamp circuits, the properties of single gap junction channels have been investigated. These channels had a conductance of about 165 picosiemens and underwent spontaneous openings and closings that were independent of voltage. Channel activity and macroscopic junctional conductance were both decreased by the uncoupling agent 1-octanol.