This paper describes a theory of the kinetic analysis of patch-clamp data. We assume that channel gating is a Markov process that can be described by a model consisting of n kinetic states and n(n - 1) rate constants at each voltage, and that patch-clamp data describe the occupancy of x different conductance levels over time. In general, all the kinetic information in a set of patch-clamp data is found in either two-dimensional dwell time histograms describing the frequency of observation of sequential dwell times of durations tau 1 and tau 2 (Fredkin, D. R., M. Montal, and J. A. Rice, 1985, Proceedings of the Berkeley Conference in Honor of Jerzy Neyman and Jack Kiefer, vol. 1, 269–289) or in three-point joint probability functions describing the probability that a channel is in a given conductance at time t, and at time t + tau 1, and at time t + tau 1 + tau 2. For the special case of channels with a single open state plus multiple closed states, one-dimensional analyses provide all of the kinetic information. Stationary patch-clamp data have information that can be used to determine H rate constants, where H = n(n - 1) - G and G is the number of intraconductance rate constants. Thus, to calculate H rate constants, G rate constants must be fixed. In general there are multiple sets of G rate constants that can be fixed to allow the calculation of H rate constants although not every set of G rate constants will work. Arbitrary assignment of the G intraconductance rate constants equal to zero always provides a solution and the calculation of H rate constants. Nonstationary patch-clamp data have information for the determination of H rate constants at a reference voltage plus n(n - 1) rate constants at all test voltages. Thus, nonstationary data have extra information about the voltage dependencies of rate constants that can be used to rule out kinetic models that cannot be disqualified on the basis of stationary data. © 1987, The Biophysical Society. All rights reserved.
Bauer, R. J., Bowman, B. F., & Kenyon, J. L. (1987). Theory of the kinetic analysis of patch-clamp data. Biophysical Journal, 52(6), 961–978. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0006-3495(87)83289-7