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Brain Res. 2005 Jan 21;1031(2):164-73.

Protective effects of TASK-3 (KCNK9) and related 2P K channels during cellular stress.

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Severinghaus Anesthesia Laboratory, Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, University of California San Francisco, 513 Parnassus Ave., Room S-261, Box 0542, San Francisco, CA 94143-0542, United States.


Tandem pore domain (or 2P) K channels form a recently isolated family of channels that are responsible for background K currents in excitable tissues. Previous studies have indicated that 2P K channel activity produces membrane hyperpolarization, which may offer protection from cellular insults. To study the effect of these channels in neuroprotection, we overexpressed pH-sensitive 2P K channels by transfecting the partially transformed C8 cell line with these channels. Tandem pore weak inward rectifier K channel (TWIK)-related acid-sensitive K channel 3 (TASK-3, KCNK9) as well as other pH sensitive 2P K channels (TASK-1 and TASK-2) enhanced cell viability by inhibiting the activation of intracellular apoptosis pathways. To explore the cellular basis for this protection in a more complex cellular environment, we infected cultured hippocampal slices with Sindbis virus constructs containing the coding sequences of these channels. Expression of TASK-3 throughout the hippocampal structure afforded neurons within the dentate and CA1 regions significant protection from an oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) injury. Neuroprotection within TASK-3 expressing slices was also enhanced by incubation with isoflurane. These results confirm a protective physiologic capability of TASK-3 and related 2P K channels, and suggest agents that enhance their activity, such as volatile anesthetics may intensify these protective effects.

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