The charge translocation associated with sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ efflux is compensated for by a simultaneous SR K+ influx. This influx is essential because, with no countercurrent, the SR membrane potential (Vm) would quickly (<1 ms) reach the Ca 2+ equilibrium potential and SR Ca2+ release would cease. The SR K+ trimeric intracellular cation (TRIC) channel has been proposed to carry the essential countercurrent. However, the ryanodine receptor (RyR) itself also carries a substantial K+ countercurrent during release. To better define the physiological role of the SR K+ channel, we compared SR Ca2+ transport in saponin-permeabilized cardiomyocytes before and after limiting SR K+ channel function. Specifically, we reduced SR K+ channel conduction 35 and 88% by replacing cytosolic K+ for Na+ or Cs+ (respectively), changes that have little effect on RyR function. Calcium sparks, SR Ca2+ reloading, and caffeine-evoked Ca2+ release amplitude (and rate) were unaffected by these ionic changes. Our results show that countercurrent carried by SR K+ (TRIC) channels is not required to support SR Ca2+ release (or uptake). Because K+ enters the SR through RyRs during release, the SR K+ (TRIC) channel most likely is needed to restore trans-SR K+ balance after RyRs close, assuring SR Vm stays near 0 mV. © 2013 Biophysical Society.
Guo, T., Nani, A., Shonts, S., Perryman, M., Chen, H., Shannon, T., … Fill, M. (2013). Sarcoplasmic reticulum K+ (TRIC) channel does not carry essential countercurrent during Ca2+ release. Biophysical Journal, 105(5), 1151–1160. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2013.07.042