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J Biol Chem. 2006 Jan 13;281(2):714-22. Epub 2005 Nov 9.

Trypsin cleaves acid-sensing ion channel 1a in a domain that is critical for channel gating.

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Département de Pharmacologie et de Toxicologie, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland.


Acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) are neuronal Na(+) channels that are members of the epithelial Na(+) channel/degenerin family and are transiently activated by extracellular acidification. ASICs in the central nervous system have a modulatory role in synaptic transmission and are involved in cell injury induced by acidosis. We have recently demonstrated that ASIC function is regulated by serine proteases. We provide here evidence that this regulation of ASIC function is tightly linked to channel cleavage. Trypsin cleaves ASIC1a with a similar time course as it changes ASIC1a function, whereas ASIC1b, whose function is not modified by trypsin, is not cleaved. Trypsin cleaves ASIC1a at Arg-145, in the N-terminal part of the extracellular loop, between a highly conserved sequence and a sequence that is critical for ASIC1a inhibition by the venom of the tarantula Psalmopoeus cambridgei. This channel domain controls the inactivation kinetics and co-determines the pH dependence of ASIC gating. It undergoes a conformational change during inactivation, which renders the cleavage site inaccessible to trypsin in inactivated channels.

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