Maxi-channels recorded in situ from ICC and pericytes associated with the mouse myenteric plexus
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Ion channels are fundamental to gastrointestinal pacemaking by interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC). Previously, we have recorded a high-conductance chloride channel (HCCC) from ICC, both in culture and in situ, associated with the myenteric plexus. The biophysical properties of the HCCC (conductance, subconductances, voltage- and time-dependent inactivation) suggest it is a member of a class called the maxi-anion channels. In this study we further investigated the properties of the HCCC in situ. Our main finding was that the HCCC is not strictly a chloride channel but has a relative sodium-chloride permeability (P(Na/Cl)) of 0.76 to 1.64 (depending on the method of measurement). Therefore, we have renamed the HCCC the "maxi-channel." A maxi-channel was also expressed by pericytes associated with the vasculature near the myenteric plexus. This had a lower P(Na/Cl) (0.33 to 0.49, depending on the method of measurement) but similar conductance (326 ± 7 vs. 316 ± 24 pS for ICC). This is the first report of cation permeability equaling anion permeability in a maxi-anion channel. As such, the properties of the maxi-channels described in this article may have implications for the maxi-anion channel field, as well as for studies of their role in ICC and pericytes.
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