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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2010 May 15;12(10):1167-78. doi: 10.1089/ars.2009.2894.

Molecular mechanism for H(2)S-induced activation of K(ATP) channels.

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Department of Physiology & Pathophysiology, College of Medicine, Fudan University, Shanghai, PR China.


Hydrogen sulfide (H(2)S) is an endogenous opener of K(ATP) channels in many different types of cells. However, the molecular mechanism for an interaction between H(2)S and K(ATP) channel proteins remains unclear. The whole-cell patch-clamp technique and mutagenesis approach were used to examine the effects of H(2)S on different K(ATP) channel subunits, rvKir6.1 and rvSUR1, heterologously expressed in HEK-293 cells. H(2)S stimulated coexpressed rvKir6.1/rvSUR1 K(ATP) channels, but had no effect on K(ATP) currents generated by rvKir6.1 expression alone. Intracellularly applied sulfhydryl alkylating agent (N-ethylmaleimide, NEM), oxidizing agent (chloramine T, CLT), and a disulfide bond-oxidizing enzyme (protein disulfide isomerase) did not alter H(2)S effects on this recombinant channels. CLT, but not NEM, inhibited basal rvKir6.1/rvSUR1 currents, and both abolished the stimulatory effects of H(2)S on K(ATP) currents, when applied extracellularly. After selective cysteine residues (C6S and C26S but not C1051S and C1057S) in the extracellular loop of rvSUR1 subunits were point-mutated, H(2)S lost its stimulatory effects on rvKir6.1/rvSUR1 currents. Our results demonstrate that H(2)S interacts with Cys6 and Cys26 residues of the extracellular N terminal of rvSUR1 subunit of K(ATP) channel complex. Direct chemical modification of rvSUR1 subunit protein constitutes a molecular mechanism for the activation of K(ATP) channels by H(2)S.

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