We report here a characterization of the voltage-activated behavior of sodium channels purified from the electroplax of Electrophorus electricus. Single-channel activity in response to depolarizing pulses was recorded from patches excised from liposomes containing the reconstituted channel. Strong hyper polarizations were required to elicit channel activity. Channels exhibited two typical gating patterns. They either would open in brief bursts upon depolarization and then inactivate (fast) or would stay opened for prolonged periods that frequently lasted several consecutive depolarizations and showed intense flickering (slow). The single-channel conductance estimated from the slope of the I-V curves ranged between 15 and 30 pS under several experimental conditions. Channels gating in either mode, fast or slow, were indis tinguishable in terms of their sizes. No clear difference in their mean open times was observed. In addition to the two gating patterns, we also found a very clear tendency of the channels to stay quiet for long periods.
ASJC Scopus subject areas