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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Modulation of TASK-1 (Kcnk3) and TASK-3 (Kcnk9) potassium channels: volatile anesthetics and neurotransmitters share a molecular site of action.

TASK-1 and TASK-3, members of the two-pore-domain channel family, are widely expressed leak potassium channels responsible for maintenance of cell membrane potential and input resistance. They are sites of action for a variety of modulatory agents, including volatile anesthetics and neurotransmitters/hormones, the latter acting via mechanisms that have remained elusive. To clarify these mechanisms, we generated mutant channels and found that alterations disrupting anesthetic (halothane) activation of these channels also disrupted transmitter ( thyrotropin-releasing hormone, TRH) inhibition and did so to a similar degree. For both TASK-1 and TASK-3, mutations (substitutions with corresponding residues from TREK-1) in a six-residue sequence at the beginning of the cytoplasmic C terminus virtually abolished both anesthetic activation and transmitter inhibition. The only sequence motif identified with a classical signaling mechanism in this region is a potential phosphorylation site; however, mutation of this site failed to disrupt modulation. TASK-1 and TASK-3 differed insofar as a large portion of the C terminus was necessary for the full effects of halothane and TRH on TASK-3 but not on TASK-1. Finally, tandem-linked TASK-1/TASK-3 heterodimeric channels were fully modulated by anesthetic and transmitter, and introduction of the identified mutations either into the TASK-1 or the TASK-3 portion of the channel was sufficient to disrupt both effects. Thus, both anesthetic activation and transmitter inhibition of these channels require a region at the interface between the final transmembrane domain and the cytoplasmic C terminus that has not been associated previously with receptor signal transduction. Our results also indicate a close molecular relationship between these two forms of modulation, one endogenous and the other clinically applied.[1]


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