Calcium and magnesium fluxes across the plasma membrane of the toad rod outer segment.

K. Nakatani, K. W. Yau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


1. Membrane current was recorded from an isolated, dark‐adapted toad rod by sucking either its inner segment or outer segment into a tight‐fitting glass pipette containing Ringer solution. The remainder of the cell was exposed to bath solution which could be changed rapidly. 2. In normal Ringer solution the current response of a cell to a saturating flash or step of light showed a small secondary rise at its initial peak. The profile of this secondary rise (i.e. amplitude and time course) was independent of both the intensity and the duration of illumination once the light response had reached a plateau level. 3. This secondary rise disappeared when external Na+ around the outer segment was replaced by Li+ or guanidinium, suggesting that it represented an electrogenic Na+‐dependent Ca2+ efflux which was declining after the onset of light. 4. This Na+‐Ca2+ exchange activity showed a roughly exponential decline, with a time constant of about 0.5 s. Exponential extrapolation of the exchange current to the time at half‐height of the light response gave an initial amplitude of about 2 pA. Using La3+ as a blocker, we did not detect any steady exchange current after the initial exponential decline. 5. An intense flash superposed on a just‐saturating steady background light failed to produce any incremental exchange current transient. 6. Our interpretation of the above results is that in darkness there are counterbalancing levels of Ca2+ influx (through the light‐sensitive conductance) and efflux (through the Na+‐Ca2+ exchange) across the plasma membrane of the rod outer segment. The exchange current transient at the onset of light merely represents the unidirectional Ca2+ efflux which becomes revealed as a result of the stoppage of the Ca2+ influx, rather than a de novo Ca2+ efflux triggered by light. 7. Consistent with this interpretation, a test light delivered soon after a saturating, conditioning light elicited little exchange current, which then gradually recovered to control value with a time course parallel to the restoration of the dark current. Conversely, when the dark current was increased above its physiological level by IBMX (isobutylmethylxanthine) the exchange current transient became larger than control.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-729
Number of pages35
JournalThe Journal of physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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