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Book Chapter

Bursts of openings in transmitter activated ion channels


Sakmann,  Bert
Department of Cell Physiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Colquhoun, D., & Sakmann, B. (1983). Bursts of openings in transmitter activated ion channels. In B. Sakmann, & E. Neher (Eds.), Single Channel Recording (pp. 345-364). New York: Plenum Press.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0019-AFB6-D
Many agonists, in particular those that are involved in neurotransmission, and their analogues, work by opening discrete pores, or ion channels, in cell membranes. For example, acetylcholine (ACh) opens cation-permeable channels coupled to nicotinic receptors at the voluntary muscle end plate. It also opens potassium-selective channels coupled to muscarinic receptors in the sinoatrial node of heart. Glycine, a putative inhibitory transmitter in the spinal cord, opens anion-permeable channels in some spinal cord neurons. The aim of the work discussed is the elucidation of mechanisms by which these agonists cause ion channels to open. First, the view derived from work in the 1970s is reviewed; then the new contributions from single-channel current recordings are presented.