PubMed 11384974

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Kir2.1 , Kir2.4 , Kir3.1 , Kir3.4 , Slo1

Title: Overexpression of monomeric and multimeric GIRK4 subunits in rat atrial myocytes removes fast desensitization and reduces inward rectification of muscarinic K(+) current (I(K(ACh))). Evidence for functional homomeric GIRK4 channels.

Authors: K Bender, M C Wellner-Kienitz, A Inanobe, T Meyer, Y Kurachi, L Pott

Journal, date & volume: J. Biol. Chem., 2001 Aug 3 , 276, 28873-80

PubMed link:

K(+) channels composed of G-protein-coupled inwardly rectifying K(+) channel (GIRK) (Kir3.0) subunits are expressed in cardiac, neuronal, and various endocrine tissues. They are involved in inhibiting excitability and contribute to regulating important physiological functions such as cardiac frequency and secretion of hormones. The functional cardiac (K((ACh))) channel activated by G(i)/G(o)-coupled receptors such as muscarinic M(2) or purinergic A(1) receptors is supposed to be composed of the subunits GIRK1 and GIRK4 in a heterotetrameric (2:2) fashion. In the present study, we have manipulated the subunit composition of the K((ACh)) channels in cultured atrial myocytes from hearts of adult rats by transient transfection of vectors encoding for GIRK1 or GIRK4 subunits or GIRK4 concatemeric constructs and investigated the effects on properties of macroscopic I(K(ACh)). Transfection with a GIRK1 vector did not cause any measurable effect on properties of I(K(ACh)), whereas transfection with a GIRK4 vector resulted in a complete loss in desensitization, a reduction of inward rectification, and a slowing of activation. Transfection of myocytes with a construct encoding for a concatemeric GIRK4(2) subunit had similar effects on desensitization and inward rectification. Following transfection of a tetrameric construct (GIRK4(4)), these changes in properties of I(K(ACh)) were still observed but were less pronounced. Heterologous expression in Chinese hamster ovary cells and human embryonic kidney 293 cells of monomeric, dimeric, and tetrameric GIRK4 resulted in robust currents activated by co-expressed A(1) and M(2) receptors, respectively. These data provide strong evidence that homomeric GIRK4 complexes form functional G(beta)gamma gated ion channels and that kinetic properties of GIRK channels, such as activation rate, desensitization, and inward rectification, depend on subunit composition.