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In response to low ambient oxygen levels the western painted turtle brain undergoes a large depression in metabolic rate which includes a decrease in neuronal action potential frequency. This involves the arrest of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) and α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid receptor (AMPAR) currents and paradoxically an increase in γ-aminobutyric acid receptor (GABAR) currents in turtle cortical neurons. In a search for other oxygen-sensitive channels we discovered a Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channel (K(Ca)) that exhibited a decrease in open time in response to anoxia. Single-channel recordings of K(Ca) activity were obtained in cell-attached and excised inside-out patch configurations from neurons in cortical brain sheets bathed in either normoxic or anoxic artificial cerebrospinal fluid (aCSF). The channel has a slope conductance of 223pS, is activated in response to membrane depolarization, and is controlled in a reversible manner by free [Ca(2+)] at the intracellular membrane surface. In the excised patch configuration anoxia had no effect on K(Ca) channel open probability (P(open)); however, in cell-attached mode, there was a reversible fivefold reduction in P(open) (from 0.5 ± 0.05 to 0.1 ± 0.03) in response to 30-min anoxia. The inclusion of the potent protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor chelerythrine prevented the anoxia-mediated decrease in P(open) while drip application of a phorbol ester PKC activator decreased P(open) during normoxia (from normoxic 0.4 ± 0.05 to phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate (PMA) 0.1 ± 0.02). Anoxia results in a slight depolarization of turtle pyramidal neurons (∼8 mV) and an increase in cytosolic [Ca(2+)]; therefore, K(Ca) arrest is likely important to prevent Ca(2+) activation during anoxia and to reduce the energetic cost of maintaining ion gradients. We conclude that turtle pyramidal cell Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channels are oxygen-sensitive channels regulated by cytosolic factors and are likely the reptilian analog of the mammalian large conductance Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channels (BK channels). Crown Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


C I Rodgers-Garlick, D W Hogg, L T Buck. Oxygen-sensitive reduction in Ca²⁺-activated K⁺ channel open probability in turtle cerebrocortex. Neuroscience. 2013 May 1;237:243-54

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PMID: 23384611

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