Kv4 channels are thought to lack a C-type inactivation mechanism (collapse of the external pore) and to inactivate as a result of a concerted action of cytoplasmic regions of the channel. To investigate whether Kv4 channels have outer pore conformational changes during the inactivation process, the inactivation properties of Kv4.3 were characterized in 0 mM and in 2 mM external K+ in whole-cell voltage-clamp experiments. Removal of external K+ increased the inactivation rates and favored cumulative inactivation by repetitive stimulation. The reduction in current amplitude during repetitive stimulation and the faster inactivation rates in 0 mM external K+ were not due to changes in the voltage dependence of channel opening or to internal K+ depletion. The extent of the collapse of the K+ conductance upon removal of external K+ was more pronounced in NMG+-than in Na+-containing solutions. The reduction in the current amplitude during cumulative inactivation by repetitive stimulation is not associated with kinetic changes, suggesting that it is due to a diminished number of functional channels with unchanged gating properties. These observations meet the criteria for a typical C-type inactivation, as removal of external K+ destabilizes the conducting state, leading to the collapse of the pore. A tentative model is presented, in which K+ bound to high-affinity K+-binding sites in the selectivity filter destabilizes an outer neighboring K+ modulatory site that is saturated at ~2 mM external K+. We conclude that Kv4 channels have a C-type inactivation mechanism and that previously reported alterations in the inactivation rates after N- and C- termini mutagenesis may arise from secondary changes in the electrostatic interactions between K+-binding sites in the selectivity filter and the neighboring K+-modulatory site, that would result in changes in its K+ occupancy.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 1, 2002
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