1. Single-channel recordings of potassium channel activity were made from two populations of primary-auditory neurons maintained in tissue culture. The saccular nerve, which is the auditory component of the eighth cranial nerve in goldfish, was separated into two branches according to its peripheral innervation pattern. Neurons which innervated the rostral saccular macula corresponded to a class of cells that showed spike frequency adaptation; whereas, neurons which innervated the caudal macula were consistent with another type of cell that demonstrated bursting spontaneous firing patterns in vivo. Both somatic and internodal axonal membranes from each of these neuronal classes were studied after acute removal of the myelin sheath by microdissection. 2. Dye injections were used to discriminate neuronal from myelin membrane. After successful removal of the myelin, patch electrodes containing Lucifer yellow were used to fill a neuron and reveal its morphology within the myelin sheath. Patches on myelin led to filling of Schwann cells that surrounded the neuron. 3. Four kinds of potassium channels were observed and characterized according to unitary conductance, inactivation, and sensitivity to internal calcium. Three voltage-dependent K+ channel types were found on the somatic and axonal membrane of the two neuronal populations. Two channel types showed voltage-dependent inactivation and had average conductances of 32 and 19 pS, each with distinctive subconductance states. The third type of channel activity had an estimated conductance of 12 pS and was noninactivating. 4. The fourth type of channel was the Ca2+-activated K+ channel (k((Ca))), which was classified by the dependence of its activity on the calcium concentration at its cytoplasmic surface. Unlike the other three potassium channel types, this kind of channel was found exclusively on neurons that innervated the caudal sensory epithelium. As with the other kinds of potassium channels, it was found on both somatic and axonal internodal membranes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes