PubMed 15347667

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: SK1 , Slo1

Title: Physiological roles of the intermediate conductance, Ca2+-activated potassium channel Kcnn4.

Authors: Ted Begenisich, Tesuji Nakamoto, Catherine E Ovitt, Keith Nehrke, Carlo Brugnara, Seth L Alper, James E Melvin

Journal, date & volume: J. Biol. Chem., 2004 Nov 12 , 279, 47681-7

PubMed link:

Three broad classes of Ca(2+)-activated potassium channels are defined by their respective single channel conductances, i.e. the small, intermediate, and large conductance channels, often termed the SK, IK, and BK channels, respectively. SK channels are likely encoded by three genes, Kcnn1-3, whereas IK and most BK channels are most likely products of the Kcnn4 and Slo (Kcnma1) genes, respectively. IK channels are prominently expressed in cells of the hematopoietic system and in organs involved in salt and fluid transport, including the colon, lung, and salivary glands. IK channels likely underlie the K(+) permeability in red blood cells that is associated with water loss, which is a contributing factor in the pathophysiology of sickle cell disease. IK channels are also involved in the activation of T lymphocytes. The fluid-secreting acinar cells of the parotid gland express both IK and BK channels, raising questions about their particular respective roles. To test the physiological roles of channels encoded by the Kcnn4 gene, we constructed a mouse deficient in its expression. Kcnn4 null mice were of normal appearance and fertility, their parotid acinar cells expressed no IK channels, and their red blood cells lost K(+) permeability. The volume regulation of T lymphocytes and erythrocytes was severely impaired in Kcnn4 null mice but was normal in parotid acinar cells. Despite the loss of IK channels, activated fluid secretion from parotid glands was normal. These results confirm that IK channels in red blood cells, T lymphocytes, and parotid acinar cells are indeed encoded by the Kcnn4 gene. The role of these channels in water movement and the subsequent volume changes in red blood cells and T lymphocytes is also confirmed. Surprisingly, Kcnn4 channels appear to play no required role in fluid secretion and regulatory volume decrease in the parotid gland.