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

A sensory neuron-specific, proton-gated ion channel.

Proton-gated channels expressed by sensory neurons are of particular interest because low pH causes pain. Two proton-gated channels, acid-sensing ionic channel ( ASIC) and dorsal root ASIC (DRASIC), that are members of the amiloride-sensitive ENaC/Degenerin family are known to be expressed by sensory neurons. Here, we describe the cloning and characterization of an ASIC splice variant, ASIC-beta, which contains a unique N-terminal 172 aa, as well as unique 5' and 3' untranslated sequences. ASIC-beta, unlike ASIC and DRASIC, is found only in a subset of small and large diameter sensory neurons and is absent from sympathetic neurons or the central nervous system. The patterns of expression of ASIC and ASIC-beta transcripts in rat dorsal root ganglion neurons are distinct. When expressed in COS-7 cells, ASIC-beta forms a functional channel with electrophysiological properties distinct from ASIC and DRASIC. The pH dependency and sensitivity to amiloride of ASIC-beta is similar to that described for ASIC, but unlike ASIC, the channel is not permeable to calcium, nor are ASIC-beta-mediated currents inhibited by extracellular calcium. The unique distribution of ASIC-beta suggests that it may play a specialized role in sensory neuron function.[1]


  1. A sensory neuron-specific, proton-gated ion channel. Chen, C.C., England, S., Akopian, A.N., Wood, J.N. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1998) [Pubmed]
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