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Biophys J. 2011 Jan 5;100(1):11-21. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2010.11.011.

A model of the interaction between N-type and C-type inactivation in Kv1.4 channels.

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Department of Gynecology-Obstetrics, The State University of New York, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA.


Kv1.4 channels are Shaker-related voltage-gated potassium channels with two distinct inactivation mechanisms. Fast N-type inactivation operates by a ball-and-chain mechanism. Slower C-type inactivation is not so well defined, but involves intracellular and extracellular conformational changes of the channel. We studied the interaction between inactivation mechanisms using two-electrode voltage-clamp of Kv1.4 and Kv1.4ΔN (amino acids 2-146 deleted to remove N-type inactivation) heterologously expressed in Xenopus oocytes. We manipulated C-type inactivation by introducing a lysine-tyrosine point mutation (K532Y, equivalent to Shaker T449Y) that diminishes C-type inactivation. We used experimental data to develop a comprehensive computer model of Kv1.4 channels to determine the interaction between activation and N- and C-type inactivation mechanisms needed to replicate the experimental data. C-type inactivation began at lower voltage preactivated states, whereas N-type inactivation was coupled directly to the open state. A model with distinct N- and C-type inactivated states was not able to reproduce experimental data, and direct transitions between N- and C-type inactivated states were required, i.e., there is coupling between N- and C-type inactivated states. C-type inactivation is the rate-limiting step determining recovery from inactivation, so understanding C-type inactivation, and how it is coupled to N-type inactivation, is critical in understanding how channels act to repetitive stimulation.

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