Rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells, persistently infected with mumps virus (MV), failed to generate full-sized stimulus-evoked action potentials (SEAPs) when examined by intracellular electrophysiological recording techniques. Application of tetrodotoxin (TTX) had little or no effect on MV-reduced SEAPs, indicating that the number of functional voltage-gated Na channels was decreased or their operation was blocked by the virus. In contrast, MV-infected cells generated normal Ca spikes when bathed in a solution containing TTX, tetraethylammonium ions and a high concentration (20 m) of Ca. In addition, when infected cells bathed in TTX were superfused with Co the SEAP profile reverted to that typical of PC12 cells with functional voltagegated K channels only. These observations indicate that MV affects voltage-gated Na channels, but spares voltage-gated Ca and K channels of persistently infected cells.


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