Patches of membrane on cells isolated from the nasal salt gland of the domestic duck typically contained two types of K+ channel. One was a large-conductance ("maxi") K+ channel which was activated by intracellular calcium and/or depolarizing membrane voltages, and the other was a smaller-conductance K+ channel which exhibited at least two conductance levels and displayed pronounced inward rectification. Barium blocked both channels, but tetraethylammonium chloride and quinidine selectively blocked the larger K+ channel. The large K+ channel did not appear to open under resting conditions but could be activated by application of the muscarinic agonist, carbachol. The smaller channels were open under resting conditions but the gating was not affected by carbachol. Both of these channels reside in the basolateral membranes of the Cl− secretory cells but they appear to play different roles in the life of the cell.
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