Evidence that neuronal G-protein-gated inwardly rectifying K+ channels are activated by Gβγ subunits and function as heteromultimers
ABSTRACT Guanine nucleotide-binding proteins (G proteins) activate K+ conductances in cardiac atrial cells to slow heart rate and in neurons to decrease excitability. cDNAs encoding three isoforms of a G-protein-coupled, inwardly rectifying K+ channel (GIRK) have recently been cloned from cardiac (GIRK1/Kir 3.1) and brain cDNA libraries (GIRK2/Kir 3.2 and GIRK3/Kir 3.3). Here we report that GIRK2 but not GIRK3 can be activated by G protein subunits Gβ1 and G2 in Xenopus oocytes. Furthermore, when either GIRK3 or GIRK2 was coexpressed with GIRK1 and activated either by muscarinic receptors or by Gβ subunits, G-protein-mediated inward currents were increased by 5- to 40-fold. The single-channel conductance for GIRK1 plus GIRK2 coexpression was intermediate between those for GIRK1 alone and for GIRK2 alone, and voltage-jump kinetics for the coexpressed channels displayed new kinetic properties. On the other hand, coexpression of GIRK3 with GIRK2 suppressed the GIRK2 alone response. These studies suggest that formation of heteromultimers involving the several GIRKs is an important mechanism for generating diversity in expression level and function of neurotransmitter-coupled, inward rectifier K+ channels.
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ABSTRACT: G protein-gated inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK) channels hyperpolarize neurons in response to activation of many different G protein-coupled receptors and thus control the excitability of neurons through GIRK-mediated self-inhibition, slow synaptic potentials and volume transmission. GIRK channel function and trafficking are highly dependent on the channel subunit composition. Pharmacological investigations of GIRK channels and studies in animal models suggest that GIRK activity has an important role in physiological responses, including pain perception and memory modulation. Moreover, abnormal GIRK function has been implicated in altering neuronal excitability and cell death, which may be important in the pathophysiology of diseases such as epilepsy, Down's syndrome, Parkinson's disease and drug addiction. GIRK channels may therefore prove to be a valuable new therapeutic target.Nature Reviews Neuroscience 04/2010; 11(5):301-15. · 26.48 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Dopamine (DA) is a physiological regulator of PRL secretion, exerting tonic inhibitory control. DA activates an inward rectifier K(+) (IRK) channel in rat lactotropes, causing membrane hyperpolarization and inhibition of Ca(2+)-dependent action potentials. Both the activation of this effector K(+) channel and the inhibition of PRL release are mediated by D(2)-type receptor activation and pertussis toxin- sensitive G proteins. To study the molecular basis of this physiologically relevant channel, a homology-based PCR approach was employed to identify members of the IRK channel family expressed in the anterior pituitary gland. Nondegenerate primers corresponding to regions specific for IRK channels known to be G protein activated (GIRKs; gene subfamily Kir 3.0) were synthesized and used in the PCR with reverse transcribed female rat anterior pituitary messenger RNA as the template. PCR products of predicted sizes for Kir 3.1, 3.2, and 3.4 were consistently observed by ethidium bromide staining after 16 amplification cycles. The identities of the products were confirmed by subcloning and sequencing. Expression of each of these gene products in anterior pituitary was confirmed by Northern blot analysis. Functional analysis of the GIRK proteins was performed in the heterologous expression system, Xenopus laevis oocytes. Macroscopic K(+) currents were examined in oocytes injected with different combinations of Kir 3.0 complementary RNA (cRNA) and G protein subunit (beta(1)gamma(2)) cRNA. The current-voltage relationships demonstrated strong inward rectification for each individual and pairwise combination of GIRK channel subunits. Oocytes coinjected with any pair of GIRK subunit cRNA exhibited significantly larger inward K(+) currents than oocytes injected with only one GIRK channel subtype. Ligand-dependent activation of only one of the GIRK combinations (GIRK1 and GIRK4) was observed when channel subunits were coexpressed with the D(2) receptor in Xenopus oocytes. Dose-response data fit to a Michaelis-Menten equation gave an apparent K(d) similar to that for DA binding in anterior pituitary tissue. GIRK1 and GIRK4 proteins were coimmunoprecipitated from anterior pituitary lysates, confirming the presence of native GIRK1/GIRK4 oligomers in this tissue. These data indicate that GIRK1 and GIRK4 are excellent candidate subunits for the D(2)-activated, G protein-gated channel in pituitary lactotropes, where they play a critical role in excitation-secretion coupling.Endocrinology 08/2001; 142(7):2820-32. · 4.72 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: G-protein-gated K+ (KG) channels generate slow inhibitory postsynaptic potentials in the brain. Current opinion suggests that neuronal KG channels are heterotetramers of Kir3.1 and Kir3.2. In substantia nigra (SN), however, mRNA of Kir3.1 does not express, whereas that of Kir3.2 clearly does. Therefore, we have characterized the KG channels containing Kir3.2 subunits in SN using biochemical and immunological techniques. We found that they were composed of only Kir3.2 subunits and did not contain significant amounts of either Kir3.1 or Kir3.3. Furthermore, at least some of the KG channels in SN were assemblies of the splicing variants Kir3. 2a and Kir3.2c. The channels were localized specifically at the postsynaptic membrane on the dendrites of dopaminergic neurons. Kir3. 2c, but not Kir3.2a, could bind a PDZ domain-containing protein, PSD-95. The heterologously expressed KG channels composed of Kir3.2a plus Kir3.2c or Kir3.2a alone were activated by G-protein stimulation, but expression of Kir3.2c alone was not. This study reveals that the Kir3.2 splicing variants play distinct roles in the control of function and localization of some of the KG channels in dopaminergic neurons of SN.Journal of Neuroscience 03/1999; 19(3):1006-17. · 6.91 Impact Factor