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Stimulation of mammalian cells often results in an increase in the intracellular Na(+) concentration, brought about by Na(+) influx into the cell via Na(+)-permeable ion channels. In some cell types, particularly renal epithelia and mast cells, non-hydrolysable analogues of GTP, such as GTP[S] (guanosine 5'-[gamma-thio]triphosphate), activate a non-voltage-activated Na(+)-selective current. We have carried out whole-cell patch-clamp experiments to examine how GTP[S] activates the Na(+) current in a rat mast cell line. The ability of GTP[S] to activate Na(+) influx was prevented by including GTP in the pipette solution, indicating the involvement of small G-proteins. Brefeldin A and Arf-1-(2-17), inhibitors of Arf-1 (ADP-ribosylation factor-1) proteins, suppressed the activation of Na(+) entry by GTP[S]. However, non-active succinylated Arf-1-(2-17) or an N-terminal myristoylated peptide directed towards Arf-5 were ineffective. Arf proteins modulate the cytoskeleton, and disruption of the cytoskeleton with cytochalasin D or its stabilization with phalloidin impaired the development of the Na(+) current. Disaggregation of microtubules was without effect. Dialysis with cAMP or inhibition of cAMP phosphodiesterase with caffeine both decreased the extent of Na(+) entry, and this was not prevented by pre-treatment with broad-spectrum protein kinase inhibitors. Collectively, our results suggest that the mechanism of activation of a mammalian non-voltage-activated Na(+)-selective current requires an Arf small G-protein, most probably Arf-1.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochem J

Publication Date





539 - 544


ADP-Ribosylation Factor 1, Actin Cytoskeleton, Animals, Cell Line, Cyclic AMP, Electric Conductivity, Ion Channel Gating, Mast Cells, Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins, Patch-Clamp Techniques, Rats, Sodium Channels