Squid giant axons internally perfused with a 30 mM NaF solution and bathed in a 100 mM CaCl2 solution, which are known to produce long lasting action potentials in response to pulses of outward current, were investigated. The effects of tetrodotoxin (TTX) and of tetraethylammonium ion (TEA+) on such action potentials were studied. The results are summarized as follows: (a) An addition of 1--3 microM TTX to the external solution altered but did not block the action potentials; it increased the height of the action potential by approximately 15 mV, and it decreased the membrane conductance as the peak of excitation by about two-thirds. (b) Voltage-clamp experiments performed with both NaCl and TTX in the external CaCl2 solution revealed that the TTX-insensitive action potential does not involve a rise in gNa, whereas the experiments performed without TTX showed that the action potential is accompanied by a large rise in gNa. (c) Internally applied TEA+ was shown to selectively block the TTX-insensitive action potential, but it did not block the other component of the action potential, which is accompanied by a rise in gNa, and which is selectively suppressed by TTX. (d) The addition of a small amount of KCl to the external CaCl2 solution containing TTX greatly increased both the maximum peak inward current under voltage clamp and the maximum slope conductance. Furthermore, it was shown that K+ applied on both sides of the axon plays a dominant role in producing the membrane potential in the active state in the presence of TTX, even though a large amount of Ca2+ is presented in the bathing medium. These observations have led me to conclude that the sodium channel is responsible for the production of the TTX-sensitive component of the action potential under the ionic conditions of these experiments, and the potassium channel for the TTX-insensitive component of the action potential.

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