The kinetic characteristics of the Na:K pump in high potassium (HK) and low potassium (LK) goat red cells were investigated after altering the intracellular cation concentrations. At low concentrations of intracellular K (Kc), increasing Kc at first stimulates the active K influx in HK cells, but at higher Kc the pump is inhibited. These results suggest that in HK cells Kc acts both at a stimulatory site at the inner aspect of the pump and by competition with intracellular Na (Nac) at the Na translocation sites. In LK cells, Kc inhibits the active K influx and the sensitivity of LK cells to inhibition is much greater than the sensitivity of HK cells. Exposure of LK cells to an antibody (anti-L), raised in an HK sheep by injection of LK sheep cells, increased the active K influx at any given Kc. The effect of the antibody was greater at higher intracellular K concentrations, and in cells with very low concentrations of K the antibody had little effect on the pump rate. The failure of anti-L to stimulate the pump in low Kc LK cells was not due to failure of the antibody to bind to the cells. Anti-L combining at the outer surface of the cell reduces the affinity of the pump at the inner surface for K at the inhibitory sites. The maximal pump rate in LK cells at optimal Na and K concentrations is less than the maximal pump rate of HK cells under the same circumstances.

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