[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acetylcholine (ACh) rapidly increases cardiac K(+) currents (IKACh) by activating muscarinic K(+) (KACh) channels followed by a gradual amplitude decrease within seconds. This phenomenon is called short-term desensitization and its precise mechanism and physiological role are still unclear. We constructed a mathematical model for IKACh to examine the conditions required to reconstitute short-term desensitization. Two conditions were crucial: two distinct muscarinic receptors (m2Rs) with different affinities for ACh, which conferred an IKACh response over a wide range of ACh concentrations, and two distinct KACh channels with different affinities for the G-protein βγ subunits, which contributed to reconstitution of the temporal behavior of IKACh. Under these conditions, the model quantitatively reproduced several unique properties of short-term desensitization observed in myocytes: 1), the peak and quasi-steady states with 0.01-100 μM [ACh]; 2), effects of ACh preperfusion; and 3), recovery from short-term desensitization. In the presence of 10 μM ACh, the IKACh model conferred recurring spontaneous firing after asystole of 8.9 s and 10.7 s for the Demir and Kurata sinoatrial node models, respectively. Therefore, two different populations of KACh channels and m2Rs may participate in short-term desensitization of IKACh in native myocytes, and may be responsible for vagal escape at nodal cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A variety of extracellular stimuli regulate cellular responses via membrane receptors. A well-known group of seven-transmembrane domain-containing proteins referred to as G protein-coupled receptors, directly couple with the intracellular GTP-binding proteins (G proteins) across cell membranes and trigger various cellular responses by regulating the activity of several enzymes as well as ion channels. Many specific populations of ion channels are directly controlled by G proteins; however, indirect modulation of some channels by G protein-dependent phosphorylation events and lipid metabolism is also observed. G protein-mediated diverse modifications affect the ion channel activities and spatio-temporally regulate membrane potentials as well as of intracellular Ca(2+) concentrations in both excitatory and non-excitatory cells.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 09/2013; · 4.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The endocochlear potential (EP) of +80 mV in the scala media, which is indispensable for audition, is controlled by K(+) transport across the lateral cochlear wall. This wall includes two epithelial barriers, the syncytium and the marginal cells. The former contains multiple cell types, such as fibrocytes, which are exposed to perilymph on their basolateral surfaces. The apical surfaces of the marginal cells face endolymph. Between the two barriers lies the intrastrial space (IS), an extracellular space with a low K(+) concentration ([K(+)]) and a potential similar to the EP. This intrastrial potential (ISP) dominates the EP and represents the sum of the diffusion potential elicited by a large K(+) gradient across the apical surface of the syncytium and the syncytium's potential, which is slightly positive relative to perilymph. Although a K(+)-transport system in fibrocytes seems to contribute to the EP, the mechanism remains uncertain. We examined the electrochemical properties of the lateral wall of guinea pigs with electrodes sensitive to potential and K(+) while perfusing into the perilymph of the scala tympani blockers of Na(+),K(+)-ATPase, the K(+) pump thought to be essential to the system. Inhibiting Na(+),K(+)-ATPase barely affected [K(+)] in the IS but greatly decreased [K(+)] within the syncytium, reducing the K(+) gradient across its apical surface. The treatment hyperpolarized the syncytium only moderately. Consequently, both the ISP and the EP declined. Fibrocytes evidently use the Na(+),K(+)-ATPase to achieve local K(+) transport, maintaining the syncytium's high [K(+)] that is crucial for the K(+) diffusion underlying the positive ISP.
The Journal of Physiology 07/2013; · 4.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Building multilevel models of physiological systems is a significant and effective method for integrating a huge amount of bio-physiological data and knowledge obtained by earlier experiments and simulations. Since such models tend to be large in size and complicated in structure, appropriate software frameworks for supporting modeling activities are required. A software platform, PhysioDesigner, has been developed, which supports the process of creating multilevel models. Models developed on PhysioDesigner are established in an XML format called PHML. Every physiological entity in a model is represented as a module, and hence a model constitutes an aggregation of modules. When the number of entities of which the model is comprised is large, it is difficult to manage the entities manually, and some semiautomatic assistive functions are necessary. In this article, which focuses particularly on recently developed features of the platform for building large-scale models utilizing a template/instance framework and morphological information, the PhysioDesigner platform is introduced.
Conference proceedings: ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 07/2013; 2013:5529-5532.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cytoplasmic domain of inward rectifier K(+) (Kir) channels associates with cytoplasmic ligands and undergoes conformational change to control the gate present in its transmembrane domain. Ligand-operated activation appears to cause dilation of the pore at the cytoplasmic domain. However, it is still unclear how the cytoplasmic domain supports pore dilation and how alterations to this domain affect channel activity. In the present study, we focused on 2 spatially adjacent residues, i.e., Glu236 and Met313, of the G protein-gated Kir channel subunit Kir3.2. In the closed state, these pore-facing residues are present on adjacent βD and βH strands, respectively. We mutated both residues, expressed them with the m2-muscarinic receptor in Xenopus oocytes, and measured the acetylcholine-dependent K(+) currents. The dose-response curves of the Glu236 mutants tended to be shifted to the right. In comparison, the slopes of the concentration-dependent curves were reduced and the single-channel properties were altered in the Met313 mutants. The introduction of arginine at position 236 conferred constitutive activity and caused a leftward shift in the conductance-voltage relationship. The crystal structure of the cytoplasmic domain of the mutant showed that the arginine contacts the main chains of the βH and βI strands of the adjacent subunit. Because the βH strand forms a β sheet with the βI and βD strands, the immobilization of the pore-forming β sheet appears to confer unique properties to the mutant. These results suggest that the G protein association triggers pore dilation at the cytoplasmic domain in functional channels, and the pore-constituting structural elements contribute differently to these conformational changes.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(11):e79844. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sound-evoked mechanical stimuli permit endolymphatic K(+) to enter sensory hair cells. This transduction is sensitized by an endocochlear potential (EP) of +80 mV in endolymph. After depolarizing the cells, K(+) leaves hair cells in perilymph, and it is then circulated back to endolymph across the lateral cochlear wall. In theory, this process entails a continuous and unidirectional current carried by apical K(+) channels and basolateral K(+) uptake transporters in both the marginal cell and syncytial layers of the lateral wall. The transporters regulate intracellular and extracellular [K(+)], allowing the channels to form K(+) diffusion potentials across each of the two layers. These diffusion potentials govern the EP. What remains uncertain is whether these transport mechanisms accumulating across diverse cell layers make up a continuous circulation current in the lateral wall and how this current might affect the characteristics of the endolymph. To address this question, we developed an electrophysiological model that incorporates channels and transporters of the lateral wall and channels of hair cells that derive a circulation current. The simulation replicated normal experimental EP values and reproduced experimentally measured changes in the EP and intra- and extracellular [K(+)] in the lateral wall when different transporters and channels were blocked. The model predicts that, under these different conditions, the circulation current's contribution to the EP arises from different sources. Finally, our model also accurately simulated EP loss in a mouse model of a chloride channelopathy associated with deafness.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2012; 109(23):9191-6. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG) channels play a critical role in cardiac action potential repolarization. The unintended block of hERG channels by compounds can prolong the cardiac action potential duration and induce arrhythmia. Several compounds not only block hERG channels but also enhance channel activation after the application of a depolarizing voltage step. This is referred to as facilitation. In this study, we tried to extract the property of compounds that induce hERG channel facilitation. We first examined the facilitation effects of structurally diverse hERG channel blockers in Xenopus oocytes. Ten of 13 assayed compounds allowed facilitation, suggesting that it is an effect common to most hERG channel blockers. We constructed a pharmacophore model for hERG channel facilitation. The model consisted of one positively ionizable feature and three hydrophobic features. Verification experiments suggest that the model well describes the structure-activity relationship for facilitation. Comparison of the pharmacophore for facilitation with that for hERG channel block showed that the spatial arrangement of features is clearly different. It is therefore conceivable that two different interactions of a compound with hERG channels exert two pharmacological effects, block and facilitation.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 02/2012; 418(1):161-6. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ion channels gate at membrane-embedded domains by changing their conformation along the ion conduction pathway. Inward rectifier K(+) (Kir) channels possess a unique extramembrane cytoplasmic domain that extends this pathway. However, the relevance and contribution of this domain to ion permeation remain unclear. By qualitative x-ray crystallographic analysis, we found that the pore in the cytoplasmic domain of Kir3.2 binds cations in a valency-dependent manner and does not allow the displacement of Mg(2+) by monovalent cations or spermine. Electrophysiological analyses revealed that the cytoplasmic pore of Kir3.2 selectively binds positively charged molecules and has a higher affinity for Mg(2+) when it has a low probability of being open. The selective blocking of chemical modification of the side chain of pore-facing residues by Mg(2+) indicates that the mode of binding of Mg(2+) is likely to be similar to that observed in the crystal structure. These results indicate that the Kir3.2 crystal structure has a closed conformation with a negative electrostatic field potential at the cytoplasmic pore, the potential of which may be controlled by conformational changes in the cytoplasmic domain to regulate ion diffusion along the pore.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2011; 286(48):41801-11. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nifekalant and azimilide, Class III antiarrhythmic agents, block the human ether-à-go-go-related gene K(+) (hERG) channel. However, when a depolarizing membrane potential is applied, they also increase the current at low potentials by shifting its activation curve towards hyperpolarizing voltages. This phenomenon is called 'facilitation'. In this study, we tried to address the mechanism underlying the facilitation by analyzing the effects of various compounds on hERG expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Like nifekalant, amiodarone, quinidine and carvedilol, but not by dofetilide, caused the current facilitation of hERG, suggesting that the facilitation is a common effect to a subset of hERG blockers. As the concentration of each compound was increased, the total hERG current was suppressed progressively, while the current at low potentials was augmented. Activation curves of the remaining hERG current in the facilitation condition could be described as the sum of two Boltzmann functions reflecting two populations of hERG currents having different activation curves. The voltage shift in the activation curve from control was constant for each compound even at different concentrations; -31 mV in amiodarone, -27 mV in nifekalant, -17 mV in quinidine and -12 mV in carvedilol. Therefore, the facilitation is based on the appearance of hERG whose voltage-dependence for the activation is shifted towards hyperpolarizing voltages.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 11/2011; 415(1):141-6. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The gate at the pore-forming domain of potassium channels is allosterically controlled by a stimulus-sensing domain. Using Cd²(+) as a probe, we examined the structural elements responsible for gating in an inward-rectifier K(+) channel (Kir3.2). One of four endogenous cysteines facing the cytoplasm contributes to a high-affinity site for inhibition by internal Cd²(+). Crystal structure of its cytoplasmic domain in complex with Cd²(+) reveals that octahedral coordination geometry supports the high-affinity binding. This mode of action causes the tethering of the N-terminus to CD loop in the stimulus-sensing domain, suggesting that their conformational changes participate in gating and Cd²(+) inhibits Kir3.2 by trapping the conformation in the closed state like "inverse agonist".
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 03/2011; 407(2):366-71. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The gap junction and voltage-gated Na(+) channel play an important role in the action potential propagation. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the roles of subcellular Na(+) channel distribution in action potential propagation. To achieve this, we constructed the myocardial strand model, which can calculate the current via intercellular cleft (electric-field mechanism) together with gap-junctional current (gap-junctional mechanism). We conducted simulations of action potential propagation in a myofiber model where cardiomyocytes were electrically coupled with gap junctions alone or with both the gap junctions and the electric field mechanism. Then we found that the action potential propagation was greatly affected by the subcellular distribution of Na(+) channels in the presence of the electric field mechanism. The presence of Na(+) channels in the lateral membrane was important to ensure the stability of propagation under conditions of reduced gap-junctional coupling. In the poorly coupled tissue with sufficient Na(+) channels in the lateral membrane, the slowing of action potential propagation resulted from the periodic and intermittent dysfunction of the electric field mechanism. The changes in the subcellular Na(+) channel distribution might be in part responsible for the homeostatic excitation propagation in the diseased heart.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ventricular tachyarrhythmia is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death, and scroll wave re-entry is known to underlie this condition. Class III antiarrhythmic drugs are commonly used worldwide to treat ventricular tachyarrhythmias; however, these drugs have a proarrhythmic adverse effect and can cause Torsade de Pointes or ventricular fibrillation. Transmural dispersion of repolarization (TDR) has been suggested to be a strong indicator of ventricular tachyarrhythmia induction. However, the role of TDR during sustained scroll wave re-entry is poorly understood. The purpose of the present study was to investigate how TDR affects scroll wave behavior and to provide a novel analysis of the mechanisms that sustain tachyarrhythmias, using computer simulations.
Computer simulations were carried out to quantify the TDR and QT interval under a variety of I(Ks) and I(Kr) during transmural conduction. Simulated scroll wave re-entries were done under a variety of I(Ks) and I(Kr) in a ventricular wall slab model, and the scroll wave behavior and the filament dynamics (3-dimensional organizing center) were analyzed. A slight increase in TDR, but not in the QT interval, reflected antiarrhythmic properties resulting from the restraint of scroll wave breakup, whereas a marked increase in TDR was proarrhythmic, as a result of scroll wave breakup.
The TDR determines the sustainment of ventricular tachyarrhythmias, through control of the scroll wave filament dynamics.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common arrhythmia frequently associated with hypertension. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that lowering blood pressure by angiotensin II-receptor blockers (ARB) has more beneficial effects than by conventional calcium channel blockers (CCB) on the frequency of paroxysmal AF with hypertension.
The Japanese Rhythm Management Trial II for Atrial Fibrillation (J-RHYTHM II study) is an open-label randomized comparison between an ARB (candesartan) and a CCB (amlodipine) in the treatment of paroxysmal AF associated with hypertension. Using daily transtelephonic monitoring, we examined asymptomatic and symptomatic paroxysmal AF episodes during a maximum 1 year treatment. The primary endpoint was the difference in AF frequency between the pre-treatment period and the final month of the follow-up. The secondary endpoints included cardiovascular events, development of persistent AF, left atrial dimension, and quality-of-life (QOL). The study enrolled 318 patients (66 years, male/female 219/99, 158 in the ARB group and 160 in the CCB group) treated at 48 sites throughout Japan. At baseline, the frequency of AF episodes (days/month) was 3.8 ± 5.0 in the ARB group vs. 4.8 ± 6.3 in the CCB group (not significant). During the follow-up, blood pressure was significantly lower in the CCB group than in the ARB group (P < 0.001). The AF frequency decreased similarly in both groups, and there was no significant difference in the primary endpoint between the two groups. There were no significant differences between the two groups in the development of persistent AF, changes in left atrial dimension, occurrence of cardiovascular events, or changes in QOL.
In patients with paroxysmal AF and hypertension, treatment of hypertension by candesartan did not have an advantage over amlodipine in the reduction in the frequency of paroxysmal AF (umin CTR C000000427).
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phosphorylation of Ser180 in cytoplasmic loop D has been shown to reduce the water permeability of aquaporin (AQP) 4, the predominant water channel in the brain. However, when the structure of the S180D mutant (AQP4M23S180D), which was generated to mimic phosphorylated Ser180, was determined to 2.8 Å resolution using electron diffraction patterns, it showed no significant differences from the structure of the wild-type channel. High-resolution density maps usually do not resolve protein regions that are only partially ordered, but these can sometimes be seen in lower-resolution density maps calculated from electron micrographs. We therefore used images of two-dimensional crystals and determined the structure of AQP4M23S180D at 10 A resolution. The features of the 10-A density map are consistent with those of the previously determined atomic model; in particular, there were no indications of any obstruction near the cytoplasmic pore entrance. In addition, water conductance measurements, both in vitro and in vivo, show the same water permeability for wild-type and mutant AQP4M23, suggesting that the S180D mutation neither reduces water conduction through a conformational change nor reduces water conduction by interacting with a protein that would obstruct the cytoplasmic channel entrance. Finally, the 10-A map shows a cytoplasmic density in between four adjacent tetramers that most likely represents the association of four N termini. This finding supports the critical role of the N terminus of AQP4 in the stabilization of orthogonal arrays, as well as their interference through lipid modification of cysteine residues in the longer N-terminal isoform.
Journal of Molecular Biology 10/2010; 402(4):669-81. · 3.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Insulin resistance (IR) is a condition where different organs are refractory to insulin stimulation of glucose uptake. ANG II has been suggested to be involved in the development of IR in the heart. The precise mechanism by which this occurs is still unknown. Here we have used dynamic fluorescent imaging techniques to show that ANG II inhibits insulin production of phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate [PI(3,4,5)P(3)] in cardiac myocytes. Fluorophore (Venus)-conjugated cAMP-dependent protein kinase-pleckstrin homology domain, which specifically binds to PI(3,4,5)P(3), was transfected in neonatal rat cardiac myocytes. Insulin induced a robust increase in the fluorescence intensity at the cell surface, which was diminished by application of ANG II. The inhibitory action of ANG II was antagonized by RNH-6270 (an angiotensin type 1 receptor antagonist) but not by PD-122370 (an angiotensin type 2 receptor antagonist). BAPTA-AM (Ca(2+) chelator) largely attenuated the ANG II effect, whereas K-252b (PKC inhibitor) did not. Furthermore, an elevation of intracellular Ca(2+) induced by ionomycin mimicked the ANG II effect. Therefore, it is suggested that ANG II antagonizes insulin-mediated production of PI(3,4,5)P(3) via a Ca(2+)-dependent but PKC-independent pathway in cardiac myocytes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inward rectifier K(+) (Kir) channels are activated by phosphatidylinositol-(4,5)-bisphosphate (PIP(2)), but G protein-gated Kir (K(G)) channels further require either G protein βγ subunits (Gβγ) or intracellular Na(+) for their activation. To reveal the mechanism(s) underlying this regulation, we compared the crystal structures of the cytoplasmic domain of K(G) channel subunit Kir3.2 obtained in the presence and the absence of Na(+). The Na(+)-free Kir3.2, but not the Na(+)-plus Kir3.2, possessed an ionic bond connecting the N terminus and the CD loop of the C terminus. Functional analyses revealed that the ionic bond between His-69 on the N terminus and Asp-228 on the CD loop, which are known to be critically involved in Gβγ- and Na(+)-dependent activation, lowered PIP(2) sensitivity. The conservation of these residues within the K(G) channel family indicates that the ionic bond is a character that maintains the channels in a closed state by controlling the PIP(2) sensitivity.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2010; 285(49):38517-23. · 4.65 Impact Factor