Some properties of acetylcholine receptors in human cultured myotubes
The distribution and single channel properties of acetylcholine (ACh) receptors in human myotubes grown in tissue culture have been examined. Radioautography of myotubes labelled with [125I]α-bungarotoxin showed that ACh receptors are distributed uniformly over the myotube surface at a density of 3.9 ± 0.5 receptors per square micrometre. Accumulations of ACh receptors (hot spots) were found rarely. The conductance and kinetics of ACh-activated channels were investigated with the patch-clamp technique. Cell-attached membrane patches were used in all experiments. A single channel conductance in the range 40-45 pS was calculated. No sublevels of conductance (substates) of the activated channel were observed. The distribution of channel open-times varied with ACh concentration. With 100 nM ACh, the distribution was best fitted by the sum of two exponentials, whereas with 1 μM ACh a single exponential could be fitted. The mean channel open-time at the myotube resting potential (ca. -70 mV, 22° C) was 8.2 ms. The distribution of channel closed-times was complex at all concentrations of ACh studied (100 nM to 10 μM). With densitizing doses of ACh (10 μM), channel openings occurred in obvious bursts; each burst usually appeared as part of a 'cluster' of bursts. Both burst duration and mean interval between bursts increased with membrane hyperpolarization. Individual channel open-times and burst durations showed similar voltage dependence (e-fold increase per 80 mV hyperpolarization), whereas both the channel closed-times within a burst and the number of openings per burst were independent of membrane potential.