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Kidney Int. 2004 Mar;65(3):918-26.

Segment-specific expression of 2P domain potassium channel genes in human nephron.

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Department of Pediatrics, Yale University, School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.



The 2P domain potassium (K2P) channels are a recently discovered ion channel superfamily. Structurally, K2P channels are distinguished by the presence of two pore forming loops within one channel subunit. Functionally, they are characterized by their ability to pass potassium across the physiologic voltage range. Thus, K2P channels are also called open rectifier, background, or leak potassium channels. Patch clamp studies of renal tubules have described several open rectifier potassium channels that have as yet eluded molecular identification. We sought to determine the segment-specific expression of transcripts for the 14 known K2P channel genes in human nephron to identify potential correlates of native leak channels.


Human kidney samples were obtained from surgical cases and specific nephron segments were dissected. RNA was extracted and used as template for the generation of cDNA libraries. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) (TaqMan) was used to analyze gene expression.


We found significant (P < 0.05) expression of K2P10 in glomerulus, K2P5 in proximal tubule and K2P1 in cortical thick ascending limb of Henle's loop (cTAL) and in distal nephron segments. In addition, we repeatedly detected message for several other K2P channels with less abundance, including K2P3 and K2P6 in glomerulus, K2P10 in proximal tubule, K2P5 in thick ascending limb of Henle's loop, and K2P3, K2P5, and K2P13 in distal nephron segments.


K2P channels are expressed in specific segments of human kidney. These results provide a step toward assigning K2P channels to previously described native renal leaks.

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