Effects of trypsin on large-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channels of guinea-pig outer hair cells

I C Spreadbury, Cornelis J Kros, Robert W Meech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


High-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ (BKCa) channels from isolated adult guinea-pig outer hair cells were studied in inside-out membrane patches. They had a 300 pS unitary conductance and were inhibited by tetraethyl ammonium (1 mM), iberiotoxin (33 nM) and charybdotoxin (50 nM). In symmetrical 144 mM KCl their K+ permeability (PK) was 5.4×10−13 cm3/s; this was reduced to around 4.5×10−13 cm3/s with 160 mM Na+ in place of K+ on either internal or external membrane surface. BKCa channels from trypsin-isolated hair cells had a high open probability, that depended on both membrane voltage (16 mV/e-fold change) and the concentration of calcium ions at their intracellular surface ([Ca2+]i). The Hill coefficient was 3–4. About 50% of BKCa channels from mechanically isolated outer hair cells had similar characteristics; the remainder had the same high conductance but a low open probability. Trypsin (<0.5 mg/ml) applied to the intracellular face of these ‘inactive’ channels markedly increased their open probability. It is possible that exposure to trypsin during cell isolation removes an inactivating β subunit. This would account for the absence of ‘inactive’ BKCa channels in trypsin-isolated cells.
Translated title of the contributionEffects of trypsin on large-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channels of guinea-pig outer hair cells
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-127
Number of pages13
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
Early online date2 Mar 2004
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004


  • Ca2+-activated K+ channel
  • Cochlea
  • Outer hair cell

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