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Using a five-state model for fitting amplitude histograms from MaxiK channels: beta-distributions reveal more than expected.

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Fast gating of ion channels with rate constants higher than the corner frequency of the recording set-up can be evaluated by fitting so-called beta distributions to measured amplitude histograms. Up to now, this was preferentially done for O-C Markov sub-models with one open and one closed state. Here, a fit of the amplitude histograms from MaxiK (BK) single-channel records was achieved with a five-state model with two open and three closed states including three open-close transitions with rate constants higher than the corner frequency (20 kHz) of the inevitable low-pass filter of the recording system. The numerical values of the rate constants of these transitions enabled a nearly one-to-one relationship between typical regions of the histograms and the reactions in the Markov model. These characteristic features are the width of the peak at the apparent single-channel current, the side slopes at the open and at the closed peak, and the depth of the valley between the two peaks. However, the simplex routine alone was incapable of finding the solution but could do so if guided by hand along a suggested strategy.

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