Studies of [3H]ryanodine binding, 45Ca2+ efflux, and single channel recordings in planar bilayers indicated that the fatty acid metabolite palmitoyl carnitine produced a direct stimulation of the Ca2+ release channel (ryanodine receptor) of rabbit and pig skeletal muscle junctional sarcoplasmic reticulum. At a concentration of 50 microM, palmitoyl carnitine (a) stimulated [3H] ryanodine binding 1.6-fold in a competitive manner at all pCa in the range 6 to 3; (b) released approximately 65% (30 nmol) of passively loaded 45Ca2+/mg protein; and (c) increased 7-fold the open probability of Ca2+ release channels incorporated into planar bilayers. Neither carnitine nor palmitic acid could reproduce the effect of palmitoyl carnitine on [3H]ryanodine binding, 45Ca2+ release, or channel open probability. 45Ca2+ release was induced by several long-chain acyl carnitines (C14, C16, C18) and acyl coenzyme A derivatives (C12, C14, C16), but not by the short-chain derivative C8 or by free saturated fatty acids of chain length C8 to C18, at room temperature or 36 degrees C. This newly identified interaction of esterified fatty acids and ryanodine receptors may represent a pathway by which metabolism of skeletal muscle could influence intracellular Ca2+ and may be responsible for the pathophysiology of disorders of beta-oxidation such as carnitine palmitoyl transferase II deficiency. © 1993, The Biophysical Society. All rights reserved.
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