Xenopus Oocytes as a Heterologous Expression System for Studying Ion Channels with the Patch-Clamp Technique

  • Paolo Tammaro
  • Kenju Shimomura
  • Peter Proks
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 491)


Oocytes from the Xenopus laevis represent one of the most widely used expression systems for functional characterization of ion channels. Their large size facilitates both injection of heterologous cRNA and subsequent electrophysiological recordings of ion channel currents. Furthermore, Xenopus oocytes translate cRNA very efficiently, resulting in the generation of a large number of ion channels in the plasma membrane. In this chapter, we outline methods for oocyte preparation and maintenance and describe procedures for patch-clamping of oocytes, with a special focus on the macropatch technique. We discuss some common problems associated with patch-clamping of oocytes and their use as an expression system for ion channels.

Key words

Xenopus laevis Oocytes Ion channels Patch-clamp Macropatch Inside-out Outside-out Patch-cramming Heterologous expression 



We wish to thank Drs. Oscar Moran and Tim Craig for their critical reading of the manuscript and helpful comments. P.T. holds a Junior Research fellowship at Wolfson College, Oxford.


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Copyright information

© Humana Press 2008, a part of Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paolo Tammaro
    • 1
  • Kenju Shimomura
    • 1
  • Peter Proks
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyAnatomy and Genetics, University of OxfordOxfordUK

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