Cut muscle fibers from Rana temporaria (sarcomere length, 3.3-3.5 microns; temperature, 13-16 degrees C) were mounted in a double Vaseline-gap chamber and equilibrated for at least an hour with an internal solution that contained 20 mM EGTA and phenol red and an external solution that contained predominantly TEA-gluconate; both solutions were nominally Ca-free. The increase in total myoplasmic concentration of Ca (delta[CaT]) produced by sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca release was estimated from the change in pH produced when the released Ca was complexed by EGTA (Pape, P.C., D.-S. Jong, and W.K. Chandler. 1995. Journal of General Physiology. 106:259-336). The resting value of SR Ca content, [CaSR]R (expressed as myoplasmic concentration), was taken to be equal to the value of delta[CaT] obtained during a step depolarization (usually to -50 to -40 mV) that was sufficiently long (200-750 ms) to release all of the readily releasable Ca from the SR. In ten fibers, the first depolarization gave [CaSR]R = 839-1,698 microM. Progressively smaller values were obtained with subsequent depolarizations until, after 30-40 depolarizations, the value of [CaSR]R had usually been reduced to < 10 microM. Measurements of intramembranous charge movement, Icm, showed that, as the value of [CaSR]R decreased, ON-OFF charge equality held and the amount of charge moved remained constant. ON Icm showed brief initial I beta components and prominent I gamma "humps", even after the value of [CaSR]R was < 10 microM. Although the amplitude of the hump component decreased during depletion, its duration increased in a manner that preserved the constancy of ON charge. In the depleted state, charge movement was steeply voltage dependent, with a mean value of 7.2 mV for the Boltzmann factor k. These and other results are not consistent with the idea that there is one type of charge, Q beta, and that I gamma is a movement of Q beta caused by SR Ca release, as proposed by Pizarro, Csernoch, Uribe, Rodríguez, and Ríos (1991. Journal of General Physiology. 97:913-947). Rather, our results imply that Q beta and Q gamma represent either two distinct species of charge or two transitions with different properties of a single species of charge, and that SR Ca content or release or some related event alters the kinetics, but not the amount of Q gamma. Many of the properties of Q gamma, as well as the voltage dependence of the rate of SR Ca release for small depolarizations, are consistent with predictions from a simple model in which the voltage sensor for SR Ca release consists of four interacting charge movement particles.

This content is only available as a PDF.