Stimulation of sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca release by Mg reduction of caffeine was studied in situ, to characterize further the Ca2+ dependence observed previously with stimulation by Cl ion. 45Ca efflux and isometric force were measured simultaneously at 19 degrees C in frog skeletal muscle fibers skinned by microdissection; EGTA was added to chelate myofilament space Ca either before or after the stimulus. Both Mg2+ reduction (20 or 110 microM to 4 microM) and caffeine (5 mM) induced large force responses and 45Ca release, which were inhibited by pretreatment with 5 mM EGTA. In the case of Mg reduction, residual efflux stimulation was undetectable, and 45Ca efflux in EGTA at 4 microM Mg2+ was not significantly increased. Residual caffeine stimulation at 20 microM Mg2+ was substantial and was reduced further in increased EGTA (10 mM); at 600 microM Mg2+, residual stimulation in 5 mM EGTA was undetectable. Caffeine appears to initiate a small Ca2+-insensitive efflux that produces a large Ca2+-dependent efflux. Additional experiments suggested that caffeine also inhibited influx. The results suggest that stimulated efflux is mediated mainly or entirely by a channel controlled by an intrinsic Ca2+ receptor, which responds to local [Ca2+] in or near the channel. Receptor affinity for Ca2+ probably is influenced by Mg2+, but inhibition is weak unless local [Ca2+] is very low.

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