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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2010 Jun;298(6):H1710-8. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.01246.2009. Epub 2010 Apr 2.

Regulation of the voltage-insensitive step of HERG activation by extracellular pH.

Author information

1
Department of Physiology and Biophysics, 124 Sherman Hall, State Univ. of New York, Univ. at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA.

Abstract

Human ether-à-go-go-related gene (HERG, Kv11.1, KCNH2) voltage-gated K(+) channels dominate cardiac action potential repolarization. In addition, HERG channels play a role in neuronal and smooth cell excitability as well as cancer pathology. Extracellular pH (pH(o)) is modified during myocardial ischemia, inflammation, and respiratory alkalosis, so understanding the response of HERG channels to changes in pH is of clinical significance. The relationship between pH(o) and HERG channel gating appears complex. Acidification has previously been reported to speed, slow, or have no effect on activation. We therefore undertook comprehensive analysis of the effect of pH(o) on HERG channel activation. HERG channels have unique and complex activation gating characteristics with both voltage-sensitive and voltage-insensitive steps in the activation pathway. Acidosis decreased the activation rate, suppressed peak current, and altered the sigmoidicity of gating near threshold potentials. At positive voltages, where the voltage-insensitive transition is rate limiting, pH(o) modified the voltage-insensitive step with a pK(a) similar to that of histidine. Hill coefficient analysis was incompatible with a coefficient of 1 but was well described by a Hill coefficient of 4. We derived a pH(o)-sensitive term for a five-state Markov model of HERG channel gating. This model demonstrates the mechanism of pH(o) sensitivity in HERG channel activation. Our experimental data and mathematical model demonstrate that the pH(o) sensitivity of HERG channel activation is dominated by the pH(o) sensitivity of the voltage-insensitive step, in a fashion that is compatible with the presence of at least one proton-binding site on each subunit of the channel tetramer.

PMID:
20363888
DOI:
10.1152/ajpheart.01246.2009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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