The Journal of Membrane Biology

, Volume 71, Issue 1–2, pp 89–94 | Cite as

Effects of Na-coupled alanine transport on intracellular K activities and the K conductance of the basolateral membranes ofNecturus small intestine

  • Etienne Grasset
  • Pamela Gunter-Smith
  • Stanley G. Schultz


Intracellular electrical potentials and K activity, (K) c , were determined simultaneously inNecturus small intestine before and after the addition of alanine to the mucosal solution. As noted previously (Gunter-Smith, Grasset & Schultz, 1982), the addition of alanine to the mucosal solution resulted in a prompt depolarization of the electrical potential difference across the apical membrane (ψmc) and a decrease in the slope resistance of that barrier (rm). This initial response was followed by a slower repolarization of ψmc associated with a decrease in the slope resistance of the basolateral membrane (rs) so that when the steady state was achieved (rm/rs) did not differ significantly from control values in the absence of alanine.

In the absence of alanine, ψmc averaged −32 mV and(K)c averaged 67mm. When a steady state was achieved in the presence of alanine these values averaged −24 mV and 50mm, respectively. The steady-stateelectrochemical potential differences for K across the basolateral membrane in the absence and presence of alamine did not differ significantly.

Inasmuch as the rate of transcellular active Na transport or “pump activity” was increased two-to threefold in the presence of alanine, it follows that,if active Na extrusion across the basolateral membrane is coupled to active K uptake across that barrier with a fixed stoichiometry then, the decrease inrs must be due to an increase in the conductance of the basolateral membrane to K that parallels the increase in “pump activity”. This “homocellular” regulatory mechanism serves to (i) prevent an increase in (K) c due to an increase in pump activity; and (ii) repolarize ψmc and thus restore the electrical driving force for the rheogenic Na-coupled entry processes.

Key Words

Necturus small intestine intracellular K activity alanine Na-coupled transport basolateral membrane conductance 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Etienne Grasset
    • 1
  • Pamela Gunter-Smith
    • 1
  • Stanley G. Schultz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and Cell BiologyUniversity of Texas Medical SchoolHouston

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