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Outward currents through inward rectifier Kir2.1 channels play crucial roles in controlling the electrical properties of excitable cells. Extracellular monovalent and divalent cations have been shown to reduce outward K(+) conductance. In the present study, we examined whether spermine, with four positive charges, also inhibits outward Kir2.1 currents. We found that extracellular spermine inhibits steady-state outward Kir2.1 currents, an effect that increases as the voltage becomes more depolarizing, similar to that observed for intracellular spermine. However, several lines of evidence suggest that extracellular spermine does not inhibit outward currents by entering the cytoplasmic pore. Site-directed mutagenesis studies support that extracellular spermine directly interacts with the extracellular domain. In addition, we found that the voltage-dependent decay of outward Kir2.1 currents was necessary for inhibition by extracellular spermine. Further, a region at or near the selectivity filter and the cytoplasmic pore are involved in the voltage-dependent decay and thus in the inhibition of outward currents by extracellular spermine. Taken together, the data suggest that extracellular spermine bound to the mouth of the extracellular pore may induce an allosteric effect on voltage-dependent decay of outward currents, a process in which a region in the vicinity of the selectivity filter and cytoplasmic pore are involved. This study reveals that the extracellular pore domain, the selectivity filter and the cytoplasmic pore are in communication and this coupling is involved in modulating K(+) conduction in the Kir2.1 channel. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Hsueh-Kai Chang, Ru-Chi Shieh. Voltage-dependent inhibition of outward Kir2.1 currents by extracellular spermine. Biochimica et biophysica acta. 2013 Feb;1828(2):765-75

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PMID: 22948070

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