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Mol Cell Neurosci. 2008 Jan;37(1):1-10. Epub 2007 Aug 15.

Aquaporin-4 independent Kir4.1 K+ channel function in brain glial cells.

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  • 1Departments of Medicine and Physiology, Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0521, USA.

Abstract

Functional interaction of glial water channel aquaporin-4 (AQP4) and inwardly rectifying K+ channel Kir4.1 has been suggested from their apparent colocalization and biochemical interaction, and from the slowed glial cell K+ uptake in AQP4-deficient brain. Here, we report multiple lines of evidence against functionally significant AQP4-Kir4.1 interactions. Whole-cell patch-clamp of freshly isolated glial cells from brains of wild-type and AQP4 null mice showed no significant differences in membrane potential, barium-sensitive Kir4.1 K+ current or current-voltage curves. Single-channel patch-clamp showed no differences in Kir4.1 unitary conductance, voltage-dependent open probability or current-voltage relationship. Also, Kir4.1 protein expression and distribution were similar in wild-type and AQP4 null mouse brain and in the freshly isolated glial cells. Functional inhibition of Kir4.1 by barium or RNAi knock-down in primary glial cell cultures from mouse brain did not significantly alter AQP4 water permeability, as assayed by calcein fluorescence quenching following osmotic challenge. These studies provide direct evidence against functionally significant AQP4-Kir4.1 interactions in mouse glial cells, indicating the need to identify new mechanism(s) to account for altered seizure dynamics and extracellular space K+ buffering in AQP4 deficiency.

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