Potassium channels inhibited by adenosine-5'-trisphosphate, K(ATP), found in the transverse tubular membrane of rabbit skeletal muscle were studied using the planar bilayer recording technique. In addition to the single-channel properties of K(ATP) we report its regulation of Mg2+ and by the guanosine-5'-trisphosphate analogue, GTP-y(gamma)-S. The K(ATP) channel (a) has a conductance of 67 pS in 250 mM internal, 50 mM external KCl, and rectifies weakly at holding potentials more positive than 50 mV, (b) is not activated by internal Ca2+ or membrane depolarization, (c) has a permeability ratio PK/PNa greater than 50, and (d) is inhibited by millimolar internal ATP. Activity of K(ATP), measured as open channel probability as a function of time, was unstable at all holding potentials and decreases continuously within a few minutes after a recording is initiated. After a decrease in activity, GTP-y-S (100 microM) added to the internal side reactivated K(ATP) channels but only transiently. In the presence of internal 1 mM Mg2+, GTP-y-S produced a sustained reactivation lasting 20-45 min. Incubation of purified t-tubule vesicles with AlF4 increased the activity of K(ATP) channels, mimicking the effect of GTP-y-S. The effect of AlF4 and the requirement of GTP-y-S plus Mg2+ for sustained channel activation suggests that a nucleotide-binding G protein regulates ATP-sensitive K channels in the t-tuble membrane of rabbit skeletal muscle.

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