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J Biol Chem. 1999 Oct 1;274(40):28079-82.

Identification of the potassium channel opener site on sulfonylurea receptors.

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Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Universität Braunschweig, Mendelssohnstrasse 1, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany.


Diversity of sulfonylurea receptor (SUR) subunits underlies tissue specific pharmacology of K(ATP) channels, which represent critical regulators of electrical activity in numerous cells. Notably, the neuronal/pancreatic beta-cell receptor, SUR1, imparts high sensitivity to hypoglycemic sulfonylureas (SUs; e.g. glibenclamide) and low to potassium channel openers (KCOs; e.g. P1075), whereas the opposite drug sensitivities are conferred by cardiovascular receptors, SUR2A and SUR2B. By exchanging domains between SUR1 and SUR2B, we identify two regions (KCO I: Thr(1059)-Leu(1087) and KCO II: Arg(1218)-Asn(1320); rat SUR2 numbering) within the second set of transmembrane domains (TMDII) as critical for KCO binding. Swapping both regions reconstitutes KCO affinities and sensitivities of the donor SUR isoform. High glibenclamide affinity of SUR1 is not reduced by transfer of KCO I plus II from SUR2B, demonstrating that high SU and KCO affinity can coexist in the same SUR molecule. Consistently, high SU affinity was imparted on SUR2B by substituting the region separating KCO I and II (Ile(1088)-Val(1217)) with the corresponding domain of SUR1. We infer the receptor sites for KCOs and SUs to be closely associated within a regulatory domain (Thr(1059)-Asn(1320)) in TMDII of SURs.

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