Research Article

Functional Conversion Between A-Type and Delayed Rectifier K+ Channels by Membrane Lipids

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Science  09 Apr 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5668, pp. 265-270
DOI: 10.1126/science.1094113

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Voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channels control action potential repolarization, interspike membrane potential, and action potential frequency in excitable cells. It is thought that the combinatorial association between distinct α and β subunits determines whether Kv channels function as non-inactivating delayed rectifiers or as rapidly inactivating A-type channels. We show that membrane lipids can convert A-type channels into delayed rectifiers and vice versa. Phosphoinositides remove N-type inactivation from A-type channels by immobilizing the inactivation domains. Conversely, arachidonic acid and its amide anandamide endow delayed rectifiers with rapid voltage-dependent inactivation. The bidirectional control of Kv channel gating by lipids may provide a mechanism for the dynamic regulation of electrical signaling in the nervous system.

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