The effects of the ryanodine receptor (RyR) antagonists ryanodine and daunorubicin on the kinetic and steady-state properties of intramembrane charge were investigated in intact voltage-clamped frog skeletal muscle fibers under conditions that minimized time-dependent ionic currents. A hypothesis that RyR gating is allosterically coupled to configurational changes in dihydropyridine receptors (DHPRs) would predict that such interactions are reciprocal and that RyR modification should influence intramembrane charge. Both agents indeed modified the time course of charging transients at 100-200-microM concentrations. They independently abolished the delayed charging phases shown by q gamma currents, even in fibers held at fully polarized, -90-mV holding potentials; such waveforms are especially prominent in extracellular solutions containing gluconate. Charge movements consistently became exponential decays to stable baselines in the absence of intervening inward or other time-dependent currents. The steady-state charge transfers nevertheless remained equal through the ON and the OFF parts of test voltage steps. The charge-voltage function, Q(VT), shifted by approximately +10 mV, particularly through those test potentials at which delayed q gamma currents normally took place but retained steepness factors (k approximately 8.0 to 10.6 mV) that indicated persistent, steeply voltage-dependent q gamma contributions. Furthermore, both RyR antagonists preserved the total charge, and its variation with holding potential, Qmax (VH), which also retained similarly high voltage sensitivities (k approximately 7.0 to 9.0 mV). RyR antagonists also preserved the separate identities of q gamma and q beta species, whether defined by their steady-state voltage dependence or inactivation or pharmacological properties. Thus, tetracaine (2 mM) reduced the available steady-state charge movement and gave shallow Q(VT) (k approximately 14 to 16 mV) and Qmax (VH) (k approximately 14 to 17 mV) curves characteristic of q beta charge. These features persisted with exposure to test agent. Finally, q gamma charge movements showed steep voltage dependences with both activation (k approximately 4.0 to 6.5 mV) and inactivation characteristics (k approximately 4.3 to 6.6 mV) distinct from those shown by the remaining q beta charge, whether isolated through differential tetracaine sensitivities, or the full approximation of charge-voltage data to the sum of two Boltzmann distributions. RyR modification thus specifically alters q gamma kinetics while preserving the separate identities of steady-state q beta and q gamma charge. These findings permit a mechanism by which transverse tubular voltage provides the primary driving force for configurational changes in DHPRs, which might produce q gamma charge movement. However, they attribute its kinetic complexities to the reciprocal allosteric coupling by which DHPR voltage sensors and RyR-Ca2+ release channels might interact even though these receptors reside in electrically distinct membranes. RyR modification then would still permit tubular voltage change to drive net q gamma charge transfer but would transform its complex waveforms into simple exponential decays.

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