The effects of gymnochrome A were tested on the electrical activity of the frog atrial heart muscle. Gymnochrome A (1–5 μM) did not alter the resting potential. Gymnochrome A (5 μM) slowed the initial depolarizing phase of the spontaneously beating action potential. Under voltage-clamp conditions gymnochrome A (5 μM) did not affect the electrical constant of the membrane and the kinetic parameters of the peak Na current (INa) recorded in the Ringer solution containing tetraethylammonium (2 mM) and Cd2 (1 mM) but shifted the membrane potential at which the current both activated and reached its maximal value toward more negative membrane potentials. It did not alter the reversal potential for INa, indicating that the selectivity of the Na channels had not changed. These observations suggest that gymnochrome A binds to the membrane and shifts the activation of INa on the voltage axis by modifying the free negative fixed charges present at the membrane surface rather than by occupying a specific site on the Na channel. Photoexcited gymnochrome A transiently triggered an early outward current which lengthened the time-to-peak of INa and decreased its amplitude. In addition, photoexcited gymnochrome A blocked the background K current. This is, to our knowledge, the first time that such effects are reported on the cardiac muscle. These observations suggest that the photoexcitation of gymnochrome produces physico-chemical effects which lead to intracellular changes. Further experiments are required to determine their nature.
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1 August 2001
Alterations of Transmembrane Currents in Frog Atrial Heart Muscle Induced by Photoexcited Gymnochrome A Purified from the Crinoid, Gymnochrinus richeri
Photochemistry and Photobiology
Vol. 74 • No. 2
Vol. 74 • No. 2