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A-type K+ current mediated by the Kv4 channel regulates the generation of action potential in developing cerebellar granule cells.

R Shibata, K Nakahira, K Shibasaki, Y Wakazono, K Imoto, K Ikenaka

J. Neurosci., 2000 Jun 1 , 20, 4145-55

During neuronal differentiation and maturation, electrical excitability is essential for proper gene expression and the formation of synapses. The expression of ion channels is crucial for this process; in particular, voltage-gated K(+) channels function as the key determinants of membrane excitability. Previously, we reported that the A-type K(+) current (I(A)) and Kv4.2 K(+) channel subunit expression increased in cultured cerebellar granule cells with time. To examine the correlation between ion currents and the action potential, in the present study, we measured developmental changes of action potentials in cultured granule cells using the whole-cell patch-clamp method. In addition to an observed increment of I(A), we found that the Na(+) current also increased during development. The increase in both currents was accompanied by a change in the membrane excitability from the nonspiking type to the repetitive firing type. Next, to elucidate whether Kv4.2 is responsible for the I(A) and to assess the effect of Kv4 subunits on action potential waveform, we transfected a cDNA encoding a dominant-negative mutant Kv4.2 (Kv4.2dn) into cultured cells. Expression of Kv4.2dn resulted in the elimination of I(A) in the granule cells. This result demonstrates that members of the Kv4 subfamily are responsible for the I(A) in developing granule cells. Moreover, elimination of I(A) resulted in shortening of latency before the first spike generation. In contrast, expression of wild-type Kv4.2 resulted in a delay in latency. This indicates that appearance of I(A) is critically required for suppression of the excitability of granule cells during their maturation.