Single-channel and genetic analyses reveal two distinct A-type potassium channels in Drosophila

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Science  29 May 1987:
Vol. 236, Issue 4805, pp. 1094-1098
DOI: 10.1126/science.2437657


Whole-cell and single-channel voltage-clamp techniques were used to identify and characterize the channels underlying the fast transient potassium current (A current) in cultured myotubes and neurons of Drosophila. The myotube (A1) and neuronal (A2) channels are distinct, differing in conductance, voltage dependence, and gating kinetics. The myotube currents have a faster and more voltage-dependent macroscopic inactivation rate, a larger steady-state component, and a less negative steady-state inactivation curve than the neuronal currents. The myotube channels have a conductance of 12 to 16 picosiemens, whereas the neuronal channels have a conductance of 5 to 8 picosiemens. In addition, the myotube channel is affected by Shaker mutations, whereas the neuronal channel is not. Together, these data suggest that the two channels are separate molecular structures, the expression of which is controlled, at least in part, by different genes.

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