The effects of ruthenium red and the related compounds tetraamine palladium (4APd) and tetraamine platinum (4APt) were studied on the ryanodine activated Ca2+ release channel reconstituted in planar bilayers with the immunoaffinity purified ryanodine receptor. Ruthenium red, applied at submicromolar concentrations to the myoplasmic side (cis), induced an all-or-none flickery block of the ryanodine activated channel. The blocking effect was strongly voltage dependent, as large positive potentials that favored the movement of ruthenium red into the channel conduction pore produced stronger block. The half dissociation constants (Kd) for ruthenium red block of the 500 pS channel were 0.22, 0.38, and 0.62 microM, at +100, +80, and +60 mV, respectively. Multiple ruthenium red molecules seemed to be involved in the inhibition, because a Hill coefficient of close to 2 was obtained from the dose response curve. The half dissociation constant of ruthenium red block of the lower conductance state of the ryanodine activated channel (250 pS) was higher (Kd = 0.82 microM at +100 mV), while the Hill coefficient remained approximately the same (nH = 2.7). Ruthenium red block of the channel was highly asymmetric, as trans ruthenium red produced a different blocking effect. The blocking and unblocking events (induced by cis ruthenium red) can be resolved at the single channel level at a cutoff frequency of 2 kHz. The closing rate of the channel in the presence of ruthenium red increased linearly with ruthenium red concentration, and the unblocking rate of the channel was independent of ruthenium red concentrations. This suggests that ruthenium red block of the channel occurred via a simple blocking mechanism. The on-rate of ruthenium red binding to the channel was 1.32 x 10(9) M-1 s-1, and the off-rate of ruthenium red binding was 0.75 x 10(3) s-1 at +60 mV, in the presence of 200 nM ryanodine. The two related compounds, 4APd and 4APt, blocked the channel in a similar way to that of ruthenium red. These compounds inhibited the open channel with lower affinities (Kd = 170 microM, 4APd; Kd = 656 microM, 4APt), and had Hill coefficients of close to 1. The results suggest that ruthenium red block of the ryanodine receptor is due to binding to multiple sites located in the conduction pore of the channel.

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