A minimal gating model for the cardiac calcium release channel.

, and . Biophys. J. 71 (6): 2996--3012 (December 1996)


A Markovian model of the cardiac Ca release channel, based on experimental single-channel gating data, was constructed to understand the transient nature of Ca release. The rate constants for a minimal gating scheme with one Ca-free resting state, and with two open and three closed states with one bound Ca$^2+$, were optimized to simulate the following experimental findings. In steady state the channel displays three modes of activity: inactivated 1 mode without openings, low-activity L mode with single openings, and high-activity H mode with bursts of openings. At the onset of a Ca$^2+$ step, the channel first activates in H mode and then slowly relaxes to a mixture of all three modes, the distribution of which depends on the new Ca$^2+$. The corresponding ensemble current shows rapid activation, which is followed by a slow partial inactivation. The transient reactivation of the channel (increment detection) in response to successive additions of Ca$^2+$ is then explained by the model as a gradual recruitment of channels from the extant pool of channels in the resting state. For channels in a living cell, the model predicts a high level of peak activation, a high extent of inactivation, and rapid deactivation, which could underlie the observed characteristics of the elementary release events (calcium sparks).


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