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

Cloning and functional expression of an inwardly rectifying K+ channel from human atrium.

The cardiac inward rectifier current ( IK1) contributes to the shape and duration of the cardiac action potential and helps to set the resting membrane potential. Although several inwardly rectifying K+ channels (IRKs) from different tissues have been cloned recently, the nature and number of K+ channels contributing to the cardiac IK1 are presently unknown. To address this issue in human heart, we have used the reverse-transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique with human atrial total RNA as a template to identify two sequences expressed in heart that are homologous to previously cloned IRKs. One of the PCR products we obtained was virtually identical to IRK1 (cloned from a mouse macrophage cell line); the other, which we named hIRK, exhibited < 70% identity to IRK1. A full-length clone encoding hIRK was isolated from a human atrial cDNA library and functionally expressed in Xenopus oocytes. This channel, like IRK1, exhibited strong inward rectification and was blocked by divalent cations. However, hIRK differed from IRK1 at the single-channel level: hIRK had a single-channel conductance of 36 pS compared with 21 pS for IRK1. We have identified single channels of 41, 35, 21, and 9 pS in recordings from dispersed human atrial myocytes. However, none of these atrial inward rectifiers exhibited single-channel properties exactly like those of cloned hIRK expressed in oocytes. Our findings suggest that the cardiac IK1 in human atrial myocytes is composed of multiple inwardly rectifying channels distinguishable on the basis of single-channel conductance, each of which may be the product of a different gene.[1]


  1. Cloning and functional expression of an inwardly rectifying K+ channel from human atrium. Wible, B.A., De Biasi, M., Majumder, K., Taglialatela, M., Brown, A.M. Circ. Res. (1995) [Pubmed]
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