PubMed 24639496

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Kir2.1 , Kir3.1 , SK3

Title: Dual regulation of G proteins and the G-protein-activated K+ channels by lithium.

Authors: Isabella Farhy Tselnicker, Vladimir Tsemakhovich, Ida Rishal, Uri Kahanovitch, Carmen W Dessauer, Nathan Dascal

Journal, date & volume: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 2014 Apr 1 , 111, 5018-23

PubMed link:

Lithium (Li(+)) is widely used to treat bipolar disorder (BPD). Cellular targets of Li(+), such as glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) and G proteins, have long been implicated in BPD etiology; however, recent genetic studies link BPD to other proteins, particularly ion channels. Li(+) affects neuronal excitability, but the underlying mechanisms and the relevance to putative BPD targets are unknown. We discovered a dual regulation of G protein-gated K(+) (GIRK) channels by Li(+), and identified the underlying molecular mechanisms. In hippocampal neurons, therapeutic doses of Li(+) (1-2 mM) increased GIRK basal current (Ibasal) but attenuated neurotransmitter-evoked GIRK currents (Ievoked) mediated by Gi/o-coupled G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Molecular mechanisms of these regulations were studied with heterologously expressed GIRK1/2. In excised membrane patches, Li(+) increased Ibasal but reduced GPCR-induced GIRK currents. Both regulations were membrane-delimited and G protein-dependent, requiring both Gα and Gβγ subunits. Li(+) did not impair direct activation of GIRK channels by Gβγ, suggesting that inhibition of Ievoked results from an action of Li(+) on Gα, probably through inhibition of GTP-GDP exchange. In direct binding studies, Li(+) promoted GPCR-independent dissociation of Gαi(GDP) from Gβγ by a Mg(2+)-independent mechanism. This previously unknown Li(+) action on G proteins explains the second effect of Li(+), the enhancement of GIRK's Ibasal. The dual effect of Li(+) on GIRK may profoundly regulate the inhibitory effects of neurotransmitters acting via GIRK channels. Our findings link between Li(+), neuronal excitability, and both cellular and genetic targets of BPD: GPCRs, G proteins, and ion channels.