Potassium channels in the plasmalemma of Chara corallina are multi-ion pores: Voltage-dependent blockade by Cs+ and anomalous permeabilities

Mark Tester*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The outer membranes of plant cells contain channels which are highly selective for K+. In the giant-celled green alga Chara corallina, K+ currents in the plasmalemma were measured when the cell was depolarized to the K+ equilibrium potential in relatively high external K+ concentrations. K+ current was reduced by externally added Cs+. Cs+ mainly inhibited inward K+ current, in a strongly voltage-dependent manner; the effective valence of the blocking reaction was often greater than 1, increasing with higher external Cs+ concentrations and with lower K+ concentrations. This is consistent with the channels being single-file, multi-ion pores. Outward current could also be inhibited by Cs+, when external K+ concentrations were low relative to Cs+ concentrations. As the ratio of K+/Tl+ was changed (keeping the sum of the two ions equal), both the resting potential and plasmalemma conductance went through minimums; this is the so-called "anomalous mole fraction effect," and is consistent with a channel whose pore can be multiply occupied. These effects together strongly suggest that the K+ channels found in the plasmalemma of Chara are multi-ion pores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-94
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Membrane Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 1988


  • K
  • blockade
  • channel structure
  • current-voltage curves
  • ion channel
  • voltage clamp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology
  • Biophysics

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