Patchclamp studies

Following the introduction by Neher and Sakmann (1976) of a voltage-clamp method for observing the currents flowing through single acetylcholine-receptor channels in denervated frog muscle fibres (see p. 94), the technique

Fig. 4.17. A schematic representation of the procedures for forming a gigaohm seal between the tip of a micropipette and a patch of cell membrane, and of achieving the recording configurations known as 'cell-attached', 'whole-cell', 'outside-out patch' and 'inside-out patch'. From Hamill et al. (1981).

Fig. 4.17. A schematic representation of the procedures for forming a gigaohm seal between the tip of a micropipette and a patch of cell membrane, and of achieving the recording configurations known as 'cell-attached', 'whole-cell', 'outside-out patch' and 'inside-out patch'. From Hamill et al. (1981).

of single-channel recording from a very small patch of membrane has been greatly extended (Fig. 4.17), making it possible to study the properties of ion channels in every kind of living cell. The results of such studies are outside the scope of this volume, but it is clear that ion channels similar to those found in nerve and muscle have a variety of roles beyond the conduction of impulses in excitable tissues.

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