NAADP (nicotinic acid–adenine dinucleotide phosphate) mediates Ca2+ release from intracellular Ca2+ stores in a wide variety of cell types. In sea urchin eggs, subthreshold concentrations of NAADP can cause full inactivation of NAADP-induced Ca2+ release, an effect that may be related to the ability of the target protein to bind its ligand in an essentially irreversible manner. In the present study, we found that K+ ions inhibit dissociation of NAADP from sea urchin egg homogenates. In low K+-containing media, an addition of excess unlabelled NAADP effectively displaced bound radioligand whereas dilution of radioligand initiated only partial dissociation. The inhibitory effects of K+ on dissociation of NAADP were concentration dependent, reversible and persisted after detergent solubilization. Lowering [K+] of the medium decreased the sensitivity of NAADP receptors for their ligand in stimulating Ca2+ release, but it did not affect inactivation of NAADP-induced Ca2+ release by subthreshold concentrations of NAADP. Our results are consistent with the observation of multiple conformations of the NAADP receptor that are readily revealed in low K+-containing media.

Abbreviations used: cADPR, cyclic ADP ribose; Kglu, potassium gluconate; IM, intracellular-like medium lacking Kglu; InsP3, inositol (1,4,5)-trisphosphate; Naglu, sodium gluconate; NAADP, nicotinic acid–adenine dinucleotide phosphate.

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