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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Jan 24;103(4):1118-23. Epub 2006 Jan 17.

Hybrid assemblies of ATP-sensitive K+ channels determine their muscle-type-dependent biophysical and pharmacological properties.

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Department of Pharmacobiology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Bari, via Orabona no. 4, 70120 Bari, Italy.


ATP-sensitive K(+) channels (K(ATP)) are an octameric complex of inwardly rectifying K(+) channels (Kir6.1 and Kir6.2) and sulfonylurea receptors (SUR1 and SUR2A/B), which are involved in several diseases. The tissue-selective expression of the subunits leads to different channels; however, the composition and role of the functional channel in native muscle fibers is not known. In this article, the properties of K(ATP) channels of fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscles were compared by combining patch-clamp experiments with measurements of gene expression. We found that the density of K(ATP) currents/area was muscle-type specific, being higher in fast-twitch muscles compared with the slow-twitch muscle. The density of K(ATP) currents/area was correlated with the level of Kir6.2 expression. SUR2A was the most abundant subunit expressed in all muscles, whereas the vascular SUR2B subunit was expressed but at lower levels. A significant expression of the pancreatic SUR1 was also found in fast-twitch muscles. Pharmacological experiments showed that the channel response to the SUR1 agonist diazoxide, SUR2A/B agonist cromakalim, SUR1 antagonist tolbutamide, and the SUR1/SUR2A/B-antagonist glibenclamide matched the SURs expression pattern. Muscle-specific K(ATP) subunit compositions contribute to the physiological performance of different muscle fiber types and determine the pharmacological actions of drugs modulating K(ATP) activity in muscle diseases.

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