In spite of a generally well-conserved outer vestibule and pore structure, there is considerable diversity in the pharmacology of K channels. We have investigated the role of specific outer vestibule charged residues in the pharmacology of K channels using tetraethylammonium (TEA) and a trivalent TEA analog, gallamine. Similar to Shaker K channels, gallamine block of Kv3.1 channels was more sensitive to solution ionic strength than was TEA block, a result consistent with a contribution from an electrostatic potential near the blocking site. In contrast, TEA block of another type of K channel (Kv2.1) was insensitive to solution ionic strength and these channels were resistant to block by gallamine. Neutralizing either of two lysine residues in the outer vestibule of these Kv2.1 channels conferred ionic strength sensitivity to TEA block. Kv2.1 channels with both lysines neutralized were sensitive to block by gallamine, and the ionic strength dependence of this block was greater than that for TEA. These results demonstrate that Kv3.1 (like Shaker) channels contain negatively charged residues in the outer vestibule of the pore that influence quaternary ammonium pharmacology. The presence of specific lysine residues in wild-type Kv2.1 channels produces an outer vestibule with little or no net charge, with important consequences for quaternary ammonium block. Neutralizing these key lysines results in a negatively charged vestibule with pharmacological properties approaching those of other types of K channels.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 6, 2007
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