Zinc permeates mouse muscle ACh receptor channels expressed in BOSC 23 cells and affects channel function

Davide Ragozzino, Aldo Giovannelli, Valentina Degasperi, Fabrizio Eusebi, Francesca Grassi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1. The influx of Zn2+ through the channels of fetal and adult mouse muscle nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (γ- and ε-AChRs) and its effects on receptor function were studied in transiently transfected human BOSC 23 cells, by combining patch-clamp recordings with digital fluorescence microscopy. 2. ACh-induced whole-cell currents were reversibly reduced by external ZnCl2, with half-maximal inhibitory concentrations of 3 and 1 mM for γ- and ε-AChRs, respectively. 3. Both γ- and ε-AChR channels were permeable to Zn2+, as shown by fluorescence measurements using Zn2+-sensitive dyes. The fractional current carried by Zn2+ (P(f,Zn); 0.5 mM Zn2+ in Ca2+-and Mg2+-free medium) through γ- and ε-AChR channels was 1.7 and 4%, respectively. 4. P(f,Zn) increased with the concentration of ZnCl2, but was little affected by physiological concentrations of Ca2+ and Mg2+ in the external medium. 5. The conductance of ACh-evoked unitary events, measured by cell-attached or outside-out recordings, decreased when the patched membrane was exposed to ZnCl2 (1 or 3 mM). Simultaneous application of ACh and Zn2+ to the extra-patch membrane lengthened channel open duration (τ(op)) by 50%. No obvious increment of τ(op) was observed following exposure of inside-out patches to Zn2+. 6. The possible physiological relevance of zinc-induced modulation of AChR channels is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

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