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G-protein receptor kinase and arrestin 1 are required for inactivation of photoactivated vertebrate rhodopsin. Frederiksen et al. show that they additionally regulate the subsequent decay of inactive rhodopsin into opsin and all-trans retinal and therefore dark adaptation.

Excitatory amino acid transporters possess a Cl conductance whose direction is independent of that of the substrate. By mutating an arginine residue in the putative anion permeation pathway, Cater et al. show that a positive charge at this position determines anion selectivity.

Mutations in connexin 26 hemichannels are the most common cause of congenital sensorineural hearing loss. Sanchez et al. investigate two mutations with disparate effects, N14K and N14Y, and find that the open state is stabilized in N14K channels.

Mukhtasimova et al. describe experimental modifications of the patch clamp technique that improve temporal resolution of currents through single acetylcholine receptor channels. The study not only distinguishes between the priming and gating steps, but it also reveals how rate and equilibrium constants change as a function of agonist occupancy.

Methods and Approaches

The number of channels on a patch of membrane is a fundamental quantity for biophysical studies of ion channel mechanisms. Liu et al. develop a new method of channel counting based on patch-clamp fluorometry and use it to measure the single-channel conductance and ionic selectivity of HCN1 and HCN2 channels.

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