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pharmacology; Animals; GTP Phosphohydrolases; GTP-Binding Proteins; Histamine Release; Inositol Phosphates; Mast Cells; Membrane Potentials; Molecular Sequence Data; Peptides; Pertussis Toxin; Rats; Rats, Inbred Strains; Virulence Factors, Bordetella; metabolism; drug effects; chemistry; Amino Acid Sequence
[en] K(+)-channel blocker properties have been reported for mast cell-degranulating peptide (MCD) in the central nervous system, but its action mechanism in mast cells remains unknown. We studied the effect of MCD on the membrane potential of rat peritoneal mast cells using the fluorescent probe bis-oxonol. Unexpectedly, MCD induced a decrease in bis-oxonol fluorescence, in a rapid and then a slower phase, suggesting hyperpolarization of mast cells. Other K(+)-channel blockers, tetraethylammonium and 4-aminopyridine, did not significantly modify the bis-oxonol fluorescence and did not alter the effect of MCD. The late phase of bis-oxonol fluorescence decrease was inhibited by ouabain and by potassium deprivation, whereas histamine release was not affected. The first phase of putative hyperpolarization induced by MCD coincided with histamine release and with the generation of inositol polyphosphates. Prior treatment of the cells with pertussis toxin inhibited these effects of MCD. MCD stimulated the GTPase activity of purified G proteins (G0/Gi) in a concentration-dependent manner. These results indicate that the effect of MCD on mast cells is unrelated to K+ channels but that it is relevant to the activation of pertussis toxin-sensitive G proteins leading to the activation of phospholipase C. A direct interaction of MCD with G proteins is proposed, which, unlike mastoparan, does not require positive cooperativity.