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1. Measurements of cell capacitance were used to investigate the mechanisms by which acetylcholine (ACh) stimulates Ca2+-induced exocytosis in single insulin-secreting mouse pancreatic B-cells. 2. ACh (250 microM) increased exocytotic responses elicited by voltage-clamp depolarizations 2.3-fold. This effect was mediated by activation of muscarinic receptors and dependent on elevation of the cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) attributable to mobilization of Ca2+ from intracellular stores. The latter action involved interference with the buffering of [Ca2+]i and the time constant (tau) for the recovery of [Ca2+]i following a voltage-clamp depolarization increased 5-fold. As a result, Ca2+ was present at concentrations sufficient to promote the replenishment of the readily releasable pool of granules (RRP; > 0.2 microM) for much longer periods in the presence than in the absence of the agonist. 3. The effect of Ca2+ on exocytosis was mediated by activation of CaM kinase II, but not protein kinase C, and involved both an increased size of the RRP from 40 to 140 granules and a decrease in tau for the refilling of the RRP from 31 to 19 s. 4. Collectively, the effects of ACh on the RRP and tau result in a > 10-fold stimulation of the rate at which granules are supplied for release.

Original publication




Journal article


J Physiol

Publication Date



518 ( Pt 3)


745 - 759


Acetylcholine, Animals, Calcium, Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2, Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases, Cytoplasmic Granules, Electric Conductivity, Electrophysiology, Enzyme Inhibitors, Exocytosis, Islets of Langerhans, Kinetics, Membrane Potentials, Mice, Muscarinic Agonists, Patch-Clamp Techniques, Protein Kinase C, Stimulation, Chemical