Permeation of both cations and anions through a single class of ATP-activated ion channels in developing chick skeletal muscle.
Currents activated by extracellular ATP were studied in single voltage-clamped bullfrog atrial cells. Rapid application of ATP elicited currents carried through two different conductance pathways: a rapidly desensitizing conductance reversing near -10 mV, and a maintained, inwardly rectifying conductance reversing near -85 mV. ATP activated the desensitizing component of current with a K 1/2 of approximately 50 microM and the maintained component with a K 1/2 of approximately 10 microM. Both types of current were activated by ATP but not by adenosine, AMP, or ADP. The desensitizing current was selectively inhibited by alpha, beta-methylene ATP, and the maintained, inwardly rectifying current was selectively suppressed by extracellular Cs. The desensitizing component of current was greatly reduced when extracellular Na was replaced by N-methylglucamine, but was slightly augmented when Na was replaced by Cs. GTP, ITP, and UTP were all ineffective in activating the desensitizing current, and of a variety of ATP analogues, only ATP-gamma-S was effective. Addition of EGTA or BAPTA to the intracellular solution did not obviously affect the desensitizing current. Fluctuation analysis of currents through the desensitizing conductance suggested that current is carried through ionic channels with a small (less than pS) unitary conductance.