When barnacle lateral eye photoreceptors are depolarized to membrane potentials of 0 to +50 mV in the dark, the plot of outward current through the cell membrane against time has two distinct maxima. The first maximum occurs 5-10 ms after the depolarization began. The current then decays to a minimum at approximately 500 ms after the onset of depolarization, and then increases to a second maximum 4-6 s after the depolarization began. If depolarization is maintained, the current again decays to reach a steady value approximately 1 min after depolarization began. The increase in current to the maximum at 4-6s from the minimum at approximately 500 ms is termed the "late current." It is maximum for depolarizations to around +25 mV and is reduced in amplitude at more positive potentials. It is not observed when the membrane is depolarized to potentials more positive than +60 mV. The late current is inhibited by external cobaltous ion and external tetraethylammonium ion, and shows a requirement for external calcium ion. When the calcium-sequestering agent EGTA is injected, the late current is abolished. Illumination of a cell under voltage clamp reduces the amplitude of the late current recorded subsequently in the dark. On the basis of the voltage dependence and pharmacology of the late current, it is proposed that the current is a calcium-dependent potassium current.

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