Charge movement was measured in frog cut twitch fibers with the double Vaseline-gap technique. Steady-state inactivation of charge movement was studied by changing the holding potential from -90 mV to a level ranging from -70 to -30 mV. Q beta and Q gamma at each holding potential were separated by fitting the Q-V plot with a sum of two Boltzmann distribution functions. At -70 mV Q beta and Q gamma were inactivated to 54.0% (SEM 2.2) and 82.7% (SEM 3.0) of the amounts at -90 mV. At holding potentials greater than or equal to -60 mV, more Q gamma was inactivated than Q beta, and at -30 mV Q gamma was completely inactivated but Q beta was not. There was no holding potential at which Q beta was unaffected and Q gamma was completely inactivated. The differences between the residual fractions of Q beta and Q gamma are significant at all holding potentials (P less than 0.001-0.05). The plot of the residual fraction of Q beta or Q gamma versus holding potential can be fitted well by an inverted sigmoidal curve that is a mirror image of the activation curve of the respective charge component. The pair of curves for Q gamma correlates well with those for tension generation or Ca release obtained by other investigators. The time courses of the inactivation of Q beta and Q gamma were studied by obtaining several Q-V plots with conditioning depolarizations lasting 1-20 s and separating each Q-V plot into Q beta and Q gamma components by fitting with a sum of two Boltzmann distribution functions. The inactivation time constant of Q beta was found to be 5-10 times as large as that of Q gamma. During repetitive stimulation, prominent I gamma humps could be observed in TEST-minus-CONTROL current traces and normal Q gamma components could be separated from the Q-V plots, whether 20 or 50 mM EGTA was present in the internal solution, whether 2 or 10 stimulations were used, and whether the stimuli were separated by 400 ms or 6 s. Repetitive stimulation slowed the kinetics of the I gamma hump and could shift the Q-V curve slightly in the depolarizing direction in some cases, resulting in an apparent suppression of charge at the potentials that fall on the steep part of the Q-V curve.

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