Effects of adenine nucleotides on the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3)-induced Ca release (IICR) mechanism were studied in smooth muscle cells of the guinea pig portal vein. A microfluorometry method of fura-2 was used to measure Ca release from saponin-skinned thin muscle strips (width approximately 200 microns, thickness 50-70 microns, length 2-3 mm). About 80% of ionomycin-releasable Ca store was sensitive to IP3, of which approximately 20% was also sensitive to caffeine. The rate of Ca release by 0.1 microM IP3 depended biphasically on ATP concentration in the absence of Mg2+; it was dose-dependently enhanced by ATP up to approximately 0.5 mM, and above this concentration the enhancement became smaller. However, the decline of enhancement of the IICR at the higher ATP concentrations was absent at IP3 concentrations greater than 1 microM. This suggests competitive antagonism between IP3 and ATP. Clear effects of ATP were observed not only at pCa 7 or 8, where the Ca-induced Ca release was not activated, but after a ryanodine treatment to excise the functional compartment that possessed the Ca-induced Ca release mechanism. ATP had no effect on the rate of Ca leakage in the absence of IP3 even at pCa 5.5 after the ryanodine treatment. Therefore, ATP has direct biphasic effects on the IP3-induced Ca release mechanism. The Ca release induced by 0.1 microM IP3 at pCa 7 was potentiated not only by ATP, but by 0.5 mM ADP, AMP, or beta, gamma-methyleneadenosine 5'-triphosphate. 0.5 mM GTP had only a little effect on the IP3-induced Ca release. These results extend the functional similarities between Ca- and IP3-induced Ca release mechanisms in that adenine nucleotides enhance Ca release. Millimolar concentration of ATP, which is present physiologically, will shift the dose-response relation of IP3 toward the higher IP3 concentration and enhance the maximal effect of IP3. Thus, ATP is expected to assist the Ca release by higher concentrations of IP3 while having less effect on the Ca release by low levels of IP3. These effects of ATP may be important in the switching of Ca release from the intracellular Ca store by IP3.

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