O2 sensing by recombinant TWIK-related halothane-inhibitable K+ channel-1 background K+ channels heterologously expressed in human embryonic kidney cells
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Hypoxic inhibition of K+ channels provides a link between low O2 and cell function, and in glossopharyngeal neurons hypoxic inhibition of a TWIK-related halothane-inhibitable K+ channel-1 (THIK-1)-like background K+ channel regulates neuronal function. In the present study, we examined directly the O2 sensitivity of recombinant THIK-1 channels, expressed in human embryonic kidney (HE293) cells. THIK-1 expression conferred a moderately outwardly rectifying halothane-inhibited and arachidonic acid-potentiated K+ current and invoked a strongly hyperpolarized resting membrane potential. Endogenous K+ currents in untransfected cells were unaffected by either agent. Hypoxia (P(O2), 20 mmHg) reversibly inhibited THIK-1 currents and caused membrane depolarization, effects that were occluded by halothane. Neither the mitochondrial complex I inhibitors rotenone, myxothiazol and sodium cyanide, nor the NADPH oxidase inhibitors diphenylene iodonium and phenylarsine oxide, were effective in inhibiting the O2-sensitivity of THIK-1. Thus, hypoxic inhibition of THIK-1 occurs by a mechanism dissimilar to that which regulates the activity of other members of the background K+ channel family. Given the O2 sensitivity of THIK-1 channels and their abundant expression in the CNS, we raise for the first time the possibility of a physiological and/or pathological role for these channels during brain ischemia.
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