First Advisor

Jonathan J. Abramson

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Environmental Sciences and Resources: Physics


Environmental Science and Management




Sarcoplasmic reticulum, Calcium in the body, Thiols



Physical Description

4, ix, 200 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


Isotopic and spectrophotometric assays show that micromolar concentrations of heavy metal ions (particularly Ag⁺ and Hg²⁺) stimulate ATPase activity but inhibit Ca²⁺ uptake in isolated SR vesicles. Both effects are caused by increased Ca²⁺ permeability of the membrane, apparently the result of activation of the Ca²⁺ release system of the vesicles due to heavy metal binding to a critical sulfhydryl group associated with the Ca²⁺ release channels. CU²⁺catalyzed co-oxidation of this sulfhydryl with exogenous cysteine to form a mixed disulfide also results in activation of the Ca²⁺ release system. The rate and extent of Cu²⁺/cysteine-induced release is maximal at physiological pH and is inhibited by local anaesthetics and Mg²⁺, suggesting that the redox state of this sulfhydryl may play a role in activation of the Ca²⁺ release system of intact muscle. Modification of the SR with the proteolytic enzyme trypsin also increases the Ca²⁺ permeability of the SR, and enhances the rate of Ca²⁺ release activated by cAMP, doxorubicin, Hg²⁺, and Cu²⁺/cysteine. The rates of release activated by all reagents are stimulated by a factor of five after five minutes exposure to trypsin. Hg²⁺- and Cu²⁺/cysteine-activated release are not stimulated further, while cAMP- and doxorubicin-activated release continue to increase up to maximum of 20-fold stimulation after 15 minutes exposure to trypsin. Inhibitors of the Ca²⁺ release system such as Mg²⁺ and ruthenium red still inhibit release from proteolytically modified SR, and the binding affinities of activators and inhibitors to their sites are not significantly altered by proteolysis; only the rates of Ca²⁺ transport are affected. The most probable mechanisms of tryptic stimulation of Ca²⁺ release are (1) removal of a regulatory protein or subunit of the Ca²⁺ release system, making more channels available for transport; (2) increasing the single channel unitary conductance; (3) increasing the open time of activated channels. The biphasic character of proteolytic stimulation of cAMP- and doxorubicin-activated release (as opposed to monophasic stimulation of Hg²⁺- and Cu²⁺/cysteine-activated release} suggests that more than one of the above parameters are involved in tryptic stimulation of the Ca²⁺ release system.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL

Persistent Identifier