PubMed 22371365

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Kir2.1

Title: Revisiting inward rectification: K ions permeate through Kir2.1 channels during high-affinity block by spermidine.

Authors: Tai-An Liu, Hsueh-Kai Chang, Ru-Chi Shieh

Journal, date & volume: J. Gen. Physiol., 2012 Mar , 139, 245-59

PubMed link:

Outward currents through Kir2.1 channels play crucial roles in controlling the electrical properties of excitable cells, and such currents are subjected to voltage-dependent block by intracellular Mg(2+) and polyamines that bind to both high- and low-affinity sites on the channels. Under physiological conditions, high-affinity block is saturated and yet outward Kir2.1 currents can still occur, implying that high-affinity polyamine block cannot completely eliminate outward Kir2.1 currents. However, the underlying molecular mechanism remains unknown. Here, we show that high-affinity spermidine block, rather than completely occluding the single-channel pore, induces a subconducting state in which conductance is 20% that of the fully open channel. In a D172N mutant lacking the high-affinity polyamine-binding site, spermidine does not induce such a substate. However, the kinetics for the transitions between the substate and zero-current state in wild-type channels is the same as that of low-affinity block in the D172N mutant, supporting the notion that these are identical molecular events. Thus, the residual outward current after high-affinity spermidine block is susceptible to low-affinity block, which determines the final amplitude of the outward current. This study provides a detailed insight into the mechanism underlying the emergence of outward Kir2.1 currents regulated by inward rectification attributed to high- and low-affinity polyamine blocks.