PubMed 24259419

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Kir2.1 , Kir2.2 , Kir2.3 , Kir2.4 , Slo1

Title: Functional expression of a Kir2.1-like inwardly rectifying potassium channel in mouse mammary secretory cells.

Authors: Akihiro Kamikawa, Toru Ishikawa

Journal, date & volume: Am. J. Physiol., Cell Physiol., 2013 Nov 20 , ,

PubMed link:

K(+) channels in mammary secretory (MS) cells are believed to play a role in transcellular electrolyte transport and thus determining ionic composition of the aqueous phase of milk. However, direct evidence for specific K(+) channel activity in native MS cells is lacking at the single-cell level. Here, we show for the first time that an inwardly rectifying K(+) (Kir) channel is functionally expressed in fully differentiated MS cells that were freshly isolated from the mammary gland of lactating mice. Using the standard whole cell patch-clamp technique, we found that mouse MS cells consistently displayed a K(+) current, whose electrophysiological properties are similar to those previously reported for Kir2.x channels, particularly Kir2.1: 1) current-voltage relationship with strong inward rectification, 2) slope conductance approximately proportional to the square root of external K(+) concentration, 3) voltage- and time-dependent and high-affinity block by external Ba(2+), and 4) voltage-dependent inhibition by external Cs(+). Accordingly, RT-PCR analysis revealed the gene expression of Kir2.1, but not Kir2.2, Kir2.3, and Kir2.4, in lactating mouse mammary gland, and immunohistochemical staining showed Kir2.1 protein expression in the secretory cells. Cell-attached patch recordings from MS cells revealed that a 31-pS K(+) channel with strong inward rectification was likely active at the resting membrane potential. Collectively, the present work demonstrates that a functional Kir2.1-like channel is expressed in lactating mouse MS cells. We propose that the channel might be involved, at least in part, in secretion and/or preservation of ionic components of milk stored into the lumen of these cells.