, Volume 452, Issue 2, pp 164-174

Regulation of a family of inwardly rectifying potassium channels (Kir2) by the m1 muscarinic receptor and the small GTPase Rho

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Abstract

Inwardly rectifying potassium channels Kir2.1–Kir2.3 are important regulators of membrane potential and, thus, control cellular excitability. However, little is known about the regulation of these channels. Therefore, we studied the mechanisms mediating the regulation of Kir2.1–Kir2.3 by the G-protein-coupled m1 muscarinic receptor using the whole-cell patch-clamp technique and recombinant expression in the tsA201 mammalian cell line. Stimulation of the m1 muscarinic receptor inhibited all subtypes of inward rectifier tested, Kir2.1–Kir2.3. The inhibition of each channel subtype was reversible and was attenuated by the muscarinic receptor antagonist, atropine. The protein kinase C activator phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) mimicked the effects of m1 receptor activation by inhibiting Kir2.1 currents. However, PMA had no effect on Kir2.2 or Kir2.3. Inclusion of 200-μM guanosine 5′-O-(2-thiodiphosphate) (GDPβS) in the patch pipette solution prevented the effects of m1 muscarinic receptor stimulation on all three of the channel subtypes tested, confirming the mediation of the responses by G-proteins. Cotransfection with the activated mutant of the small GTPase Rho reduced current density, while C3 exoenzyme, a selective inhibitor of Rho, attenuated the m1 muscarinic receptor-induced inhibition of Kir2.1–Kir2.3. Also, buffering the intracellular calcium concentration with a high concentration of EGTA abolished the m1 receptor-induced inhibition of Kir2.1–Kir2.3, implicating a role for calcium in these responses. These results indicate that all three of the Kir2 channels are similarly inhibited by m1 muscarinic receptor stimulation through calcium-dependent activation of the small GTPase Rho.