The effects of verapamil on the large conductance Ca-activated K (BK) channel from rat aortic smooth muscle cells were examined at the single channel level. Micromolar concentrations of verapamil produced a reversible flickering block of the BK channel activity. Kinetic analysis showed that verapamil decreased markedly the time constants of the open states, without any significant change in the time constants of the closed states. The appearance of an additional closed state — specifically, a nonconducting, open-blocked state—was also observed, whose time constant would reflect the mean residence time of verapamil on the channel. These observations are indicative of a state-dependent, openchannel block mechanism. Dedicated kinetic (group) analysis confirmed the state-dependent block exerted by verapamil. D600 (gallopamil), the methoxy derivative of verapamil, was also tested and found to exert a similar type of block, but with a higher affinity than verapamil. The permanently charged and membrane impermeant verapamil analogue D890 was used to address other important features of verapamil block, such as the sidedness of action and the location of the binding site on the channel protein. D890 induced a flickering block of BK channels similar to that observed with verapamil only when applied to the internal side of the membrane, indicating that D890 binds to a site accessible from the cytoplasmic side. Finally, the voltage dependence of D890 block was assessed. The experimental data fitted with a Langmuir equation incorporating the Woodhull model for charged blockers confirms that the D890- binding site is accessed from the internal mouth of the BK channel, and locates it approximately 40% of the membrane voltage drop along the permeation pathway.
- Ca-activated potassium channel
- Patch clamp
- Single channel
- Antihypertensive agent
- Arterial smooth muscle