The K conductance of the basolateral membrane of turtle colon was measured in amphotericin-treated cell layers under a variety of ionic conditions. Changing the composition of the bathing solutions changed not only the magnitude but also the physical properties of the basolateral K conductance. The results are consistent with the notion that altered ionic environments can lead to changes in the relative abundance of two different populations of K channels in the basolateral membrane, which can be differentiated on the basis of pharmacological specificity, ion selectivity, and tracer kinetics. In the following article (Germann, W. J., S. A. Ernst, and D. C. Dawson, 1986, Journal ofGeneral Physiology, 88: 253-274), we present evidence consistent with the hypothesis that one of these conductances was due to the same channels that give rise to the normal resting basolateral K conductance of the transporting cells, while the other was associated with experimental maneuvers that led to extreme swelling of the epithelial cells.
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