The Journal of general physiology. vol:96 issue:5 pages:973-90
Single-channel measurements and whole-cell experiments with the two suction electrode, voltage clamp technique were used to investigate the effects of external and internal proton concentrations on T-type Ca channels in heart muscle cells of the guinea pig. As in the L-type Ca channel, an increase in the external proton concentration decreases T-type currents, while external alkalinization enlarges the currents. In contrast to the L-type Ca channel, however, a change in the internal proton concentration does not modulate T-type Ca currents. The T-type Ca channel is much more sensitive to variations in pHo than the L-type Ca channel. By the combination of single-channel and whole-cell experiments we can conclude that the observed changes in macroscopic currents are due to (a) changes in the single-channel conductance and in the probability of the T-type Ca channel being open, and (b) the titration of the negative surface charges in the neighborhood of the T-type Ca channel with shifts of both the activation and inactivation processes of the channel. The pHo-induced changes in the maximal conductance (gmax) of the T-type Ca channel show an apparent pKa in the range of 7.1-7.5, while the titration of the negative surface charges near the channel shows an apparent pKa of 7.1 with a concomitant surface potential of -24.6 mV at 5.4 mM [Ca]o. These pKa values, less acid than the pKa values found for the pHo-induced, L-type Ca channel modulation, might imply a physiological importance of this novel type of channel modulation.