The Arg615 to Cys615 mutation of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ release channel of malignant hyperthermia susceptible (MHS) pigs results in a decreased sensitivity of the channel to inhibitory Ca2+ concentrations. To investigate whether this mutation also affects the ion selectivity filter of the channel, the monovalent cation conductances and ion permeability ratios of single Ca2+ release channels incorporated into planar lipid bilayers were compared. Monovalent cation conductances in symmetrical solutions were: Li+, 183 pS +/- 3 (n = 21); Na+, 474 pS +/- 6 (n = 29); K+, 771 pS +/- 7 (n = 29); Rb+, 502 pS +/- 10 (n = 22); and Cs+, 527 pS +/- 5 (n = 16). The single-channel conductances of MHS and normal Ca2+ release channel were not significantly different for any of the monovalent cations tested. Permeability ratios measured under biionic conditions had the permeability sequence Ca2+ >> Li+ > Na+ > K+ > or Rb+ > Cs+, with no significant difference noted between MHS and normal channels. This systematic examination of the conduction properties of the pig skeletal muscle Ca2+ release channel indicated a higher Ca2+ selectivity (PCa2+:Pk+ approximately 15.5) than the sixfold Ca2+ selectivity previously reported for rabbit skeletal (Smith et al., 1988) or sheep cardiac muscle (Tinker et al., 1992) Ca2+ release channels. These results also indicate that although Ca2+ regulation of Ca2+ release channel activity is altered, the Arg615 to Cys615 mutation of the porcine Ca2+ release channel does not affect the conductance or ion selectivity properties of the channel.