We have characterized mechanisms of ionic permeation in the K channel of canine cardiac sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR K channel). Ionic selectivity, as measured by relative permeabilities, followed Eisenman sequence l, a low field strength sequence. Slope conductance measured in symmetrical solutions across the bilayer followed Eisenman sequence V. In all cases, the selectivity characteristics of the prominent subconductance state (O1) were similar to those of the main-state (O2). Further, our studies have revealed that this channel differs in three significant ways from the highly characterized SR K channel of skeletal muscle. First, the ratio of permeabilities Cs+ to K+ was a complex function of ion concentration. Second, the concentration dependence of conductance was not well described by the Michaelis-Menten formalism. Instead, we modeled the observed relations using a more general approach based on classical rate theory. Third, mole fraction experiments (Cs+ with K+) demonstrated a prominent anomalous effect. Certain of our Cs+ data required the Eyring rate theory approach for adequate interpretation. We adopted a symmetrical energy profile incorporating ion-ion interaction and thereby accounted for much of the data. We conclude that the canine cardiac SR K channel is significantly different from that of skeletal muscle, and it may accommodate more than one ion at a time.
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