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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Jul 18;92(15):6753-7.

Cloning and expression of two brain-specific inwardly rectifying potassium channels.

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


We have cloned two inwardly rectifying K+ channels that occur selectively in neurons in the brain and are designated BIRK (brain inwardly rectifying K+) channels. BIRK1 mRNA is extremely abundant and is enriched in specific brainstem nuclei, BIRK1 displays a consensus phosphate-binding loop, and expression in Xenopus oocytes has shown that its conductance is inhibited by ATP and adenosine 5'-[gamma-thio]triphosphate. BIRK2 is far less abundant and is selectively localized in telencephalic neurons. BIRK2 has a consensus sequence for cAMP-dependent phosphorylation.

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