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Biophys J. 2003 May;84(5):2969-80.

Stimulatory action of internal protons on Slo1 BK channels.

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Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, The University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242, USA.


We investigated the internal pH-sensitivity of heterologously expressed hSlo1 BK channels. In the virtual absence of Ca(2+) and Mg(2+) to isolate the voltage-dependent gating transitions, low internal pH enhanced macroscopic hSlo1 currents by shifting the voltage-dependence of activation to more negative voltages. The activation time course was faster and the deactivation time course was slower with low pH. The estimated K(d) value of the stimulatory effect was approximately pH = 6.5 or 0.35 micro M. The stimulatory effect was maintained when the auxiliary subunit mouse beta1 was coexpressed. Treatment of the hSlo1 channel with the histidine modifying agent diethyl pyrocarbonate also enhanced the hSlo1 currents and greatly diminished the internal pH sensitivity, suggesting that diethyl pyrocarbonate and low pH may work on the same effector mechanism. High concentrations of Ca(2+) or Mg(2+) also masked the stimulatory effect of low internal pH. These results indicate that the acid-sensitivity of the Slo BK channel may involve the channel domain implicated in the divalent-dependent activation.

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