Limitations of the dual voltage clamp method in assaying conductance and kinetics of gap junction channels
Article, Other literature type
- Publisher: Elsevier BV
Research Article | Biophysics
The electrical properties of gap junctions in cell pairs are usually studied by means of the dual voltage clamp method. The voltage across the junctional channels, however, cannot be controlled adequately due to an artificial resistance and a natural resistance, both connected in series with the gap junction. The access resistances to the cell interior of the recording pipettes make up the artificial resistance. The natural resistance consists of the cytoplasmic access resistances to the tightly packed gap junction channels in both cells. A mathematical model was constructed to calculate the actual voltage across each gap junction channel. The stochastic open-close kinetics of the individual channels were incorporated into this model. It is concluded that even in the ideal case of complete compensation of pipette series resistance, the number of channels comprised in the gap junction may be largely underestimated. Furthermore, normalized steady-state junctional conductance may be largely overestimated, so that transjunctional voltage dependence is easily masked. The model is used to discuss conclusions drawn from dual voltage clamp experiments and offers alternative explanations for various experimental observations.