Relative permeabilities to the alkali cations were determined, from the reversal potential (VRev), for the Na channel of internally perfused voltage-clamped Myxicola giant axons. PLi/PNa and PK/PNa are 0.94 and 0.076, respectively. Rb and Cs are not measurably permeant. VRev vs. the internal Na activity was well described by the constant field equation over a 300-fold range of internal Na concentrations. In agreement with findings on squid axons, the PK/PNa was found to increase when the K content of the internal perfusate was reduced (equivalent per equivalent substitution with TMA). Internal Rb and Cs also decreased the PK/PNa. The order of effectiveness of internal K, Rb, and Cs in increasing the Na selectivity of the Na channel was Cs greater than Rb greater than or equal to K. External Li increases the PK/PNa but this may be due to the formation of LiF internally. It may be that substances do not have to traverse the channel in order to affect the selectivity filter. Evidence is presented which suggests that the selectivity of the Na channel may be higher for Na in intact as compared to perfused giant axons. It was concluded that the channel selectivity properities do not reflect only some fixed structural features of the channel, but the selectivity filter has a labile organization.

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