Localization of the tandem pore domain K+ channel KCNK5 (TASK-2) in the rat central nervous system
Tandem pore domain K+ channels (2P K+ channels) are responsible for background K+ currents. 2P K+ channels are the most numerous encoded K+ channels in the Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster genomes and to date 14 human 2P K+ channels have been identified. The 2P K+ channel TASK-2 (also named KCNK5) is sensitive to changes in extracellular pH, inhibited by local anesthetics and activated by volatile anesthetics. While TASK-1 has been shown to be involved in controlling neuronal cell excitability, much less is known about the cellular expression and function of TASK-2, originally cloned from human kidney. Previous studies demonstrated TASK-2 mRNA expression in high abundance in human kidney, liver, and pancreas, but only low expression in mouse brain or even absent expression in human brain was reported. In this study we have used immunohistochemical methods to localize TASK-2 at the cellular level in the rat central nervous system. TASK-2 immunoreactivity is prominently found in the rat hippocampal formation with the strongest staining observed in the pyramidal cell layer and in the dentate gyrus, and the Purkinje and granule cells of cerebellum. Additional immunofluorescence studies in cultured cerebellar granule cells demonstrate TASK-2 localization to the neuronal soma and to the proximal regions of neurites of cerebellar granule cells. The superficial layers of spinal cord and small-diameter neurons of dorsal root ganglia also showed strong TASK-2 immunoreactivity. These results suggest a possible involvement of TASK-2 in central mechanisms for controlling cell excitability and in peripheral signal transduction.