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

Coordination of membrane excitability through a GIRK1 signaling complex in the atria.

Control of heart rate is a complex process that integrates the function of multiple G protein-coupled receptors and ion channels. Among them, the G protein-regulated inwardly rectifying K+ (GIRK or KACh) channels of sinoatrial node and atria play a major role in beat-to-beat regulation of the heart rate. The atrial KACh channels are heterotetrameric proteins that consist of two pore-forming subunits, GIRK1 and GIRK4. Following m2-muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (M2R) stimulation, KACh channel activation is conferred by the direct binding of G protein betagamma subunits (Gbetagamma) to the channel. Here we show that atrial KACh channels are assembled in a signaling complex with Gbetagamma, G protein-coupled receptor kinase, cyclic adenosine monophosphate-dependent protein kinase, two protein phosphatases, PP1 and PP2A, receptor for activated C kinase 1, and actin. This complex would enable the KACh channels to rapidly integrate beta-adrenergic and M2R signaling in the membrane, and it provides insight into general principles governing spatial integration of different transduction pathways. Furthermore, the same complex might recruit protein kinase C ( PKC) to the KACh channel following alpha-adrenergic receptor stimulation. Our electro-physiological recordings from single atrial KACh channels revealed a potent inhibition of Gbetagamma-induced channel activity by PKC, thus validating the physiological significance of the observed complex as interconnecting site where signaling molecules congregate to execute a coordinated control of membrane excitability.[1]


  1. Coordination of membrane excitability through a GIRK1 signaling complex in the atria. Nikolov, E.N., Ivanova-Nikolova, T.T. J. Biol. Chem. (2004) [Pubmed]
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