The Journal of Membrane Biology

, Volume 120, Issue 2, pp 131–139

Activation by Ca2+ and block by divalent ions of the K+ channel in the membrane of cytoplasmic drops fromChara australis

  • D. R. Laver
  • N. A. Walker

DOI: 10.1007/BF01872396

Cite this article as:
Laver, D.R. & Walker, N.A. J. Membrain Biol. (1991) 120: 131. doi:10.1007/BF01872396


Patch-clamp studies of cytoplasmic drops from the charophyteChara australis have previously revealed K+ channels combining high conductance (170 pS) with high selectivity for K+, which are voltage activated. The cation-selectivity sequence of the channel is shown here to be: K+>Rb+>NH4+≫Na+ and Cl. Divalent cytosolic ions reduce the K+ conductance of this channel and alter its K+ gating in a voltage-dependent manner. The order of blocking potency is Ba2+>Sr2+>Ca2+>Mg2+. The channel is activated by micromolar cytosolic Ca2+, an activation that is found to be only weakly voltage dependent. However, the concentration dependence of calcium activation is quite pronounced, having a Hill coefficient of three, equivalent to three bound Ca2+ needed to open the channel. The possible role of the Ca2+-activated K+ channel in the tonoplast ofChara is discussed.

Key Words

Ca2+-activated K+ channelpatch clampCharaion block

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. R. Laver
    • 1
  • N. A. Walker
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia