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Action potentials, macroscopic and single channel currents recorded from growth cones of Aplysia neurones in culture.

By F Belardetti, S Schacher and S A Siegelbaum


Action potentials, macroscopic ionic currents and single channel currents were recorded from growth cones of Aplysia right upper quadrant (r.u.q.) cells in culture, using the patch-clamp technique. Recordings were obtained from both intact growth cones and from growth cones that had been mechanically isolated from the rest of the neurone. In current-clamp mode, greater than half of the isolated growth cones display an all-or-none action potential when depolarized above 0 mV with outward current pulses. The remaining growth cones display only a graded depolarization that is unaffected by tetrodotoxin (TTX). In whole-cell voltage clamp almost all isolated growth cones display a rapidly activating and inactivating inward current followed by a delayed outward current in response to depolarizations positive to -20 mV. The rapid inward current reverses direction at around +70 to +80 mV and is completely suppressed by 100 microM-TTX, which suggests that this current is carried by the fast Hodgkin-Huxley sodium current channels. The delayed outward current appears to result from the activation of both the delayed rectifier potassium current, IK, and the calcium-activated potassium current, IC. The growth cones do not display any prominent early transient outward current, IA. The sodium current, INA, was studied in isolation by substituting caesium for potassium ions in the pipette solution. INa is half-inactivated at a holding potential of -36 mV, reaches half-maximal activation with a depolarization to 0 mV, and has a mean peak current density of 13 microA/cm2. The time course of inactivation is well described by a single exponential (tau = 3 ms at 0 mV). In cell-attached patches, a rapidly activating and inactivating inward current channel was recorded with an average unit conductance of 6.9 pS. The activation and inactivation parameters of the ensemble averaged current closely match the measured values from the macroscopic sodium current. At very positive potentials we recorded a voltage-dependent outward current channel with a conductance of around 35 pS. No significant inward calcium current was observed in whole-cell measurements and few single calcium channel currents were measured in cell-attached patches, suggesting a sparse distribution of calcium channels in the r.u.q. growth cones

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1986
DOI identifier: 10.1113/jphysiol.1986.sp016080
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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