Journal of Insect Physiology vol:49 issue:2 pages:171-182
A primary cell culture was developed for efferent dorsal unpaired median (DUM) neurons of the locust. The isolated somata were able to generate Tetrodotoxin (TTX)-sensitive action potentials in vitro. The alpha-like scorpion toxin BmK M1, from the Asian scorpion Buthus martensi Karsch, prolonged the duration of the action potential up to 50 times. To investigate the mechanism of action of BmK M1, the TTX-sensitive voltage gated Na(+) currents were studied in detail using the whole cell patch clamp technique. BmK M1 slowed down and partially inhibited the inactivation of the TTX-sensitive Na(+) current in a dose dependent manner (EC50=326.8+/-34.5 nM). Voltage and time dependence of the Na(+) current were described in terms of the Hodgkin-Huxley model and compared in control conditions and in the presence of 500 nM BmK M1. The BmK M1 shifted steady state inactivation by 10.8 mV to less negative potentials. The steady state activation was shifted by 5.5 mV to more negative potentials, making the activation window larger. Moreover, BmK M1 increased the fast time constant of inactivation, leaving the activation time constant unchanged. In summary, BmK M1 primarily affected the inactivation parameters of the voltage gated Na(+) current in isolated locust DUM neurons.