The properties of the small fraction of tetrodotoxin (TTX)-sensitive Na channels that remain open in the steady state were studied in internally dialyzed voltage clamped squid giant axons. The observed Ussing flux ratio exponent (n') of 0.97 plus minus 0.03 (calculated from simultaneous measurements of TTX-sensitive current and (22)Na efflux) and nonindependent behavior of Na current at high internal [Na] are explained by a one-site ("1s") permeation model characterized by a single effective binding site within the channel pore in equilibrium with internal Na ions (apparent equilibrium dissociation constant K(Nai)(0) = 0.61 +/- 0.08 M). Steady-state open probability of the TTX-sensitive channels can be modeled by the product p(a)p(infinity), where p(a) represents voltage-dependent activation described by a Boltzmann distribution with midpoint V(a) = -7 mV and effective valence z(a) = 3.2 (Vandenberg, C.A., and F. Bezanilla. 1991. BIOPHYS: J. 60:1499--1510) coupled to voltage-independent inactivation by an equilibrium constant (Bezanilla, F., and C.M. Armstrong. 1977. J. Gen. Physiol. 70:549--566) K(eq) = 770. The factor p(infinity) represents voltage-dependent inactivation with empirical midpoint V(infinity)= -83 plus minus 5 mV and effective valence z(infinity) = 0.55 plus minus 0.03. The composite p(a)p(infinity)1s model describes the steady-state voltage dependence of the persistent TTX-sensitive current well.