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Biophys J. 2013 Jul 2;105(1):80-90. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2013.05.044.

Alkaline pH block of CLC-K kidney chloride channels mediated by a pore lysine residue.

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Istituto di Biofisica, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Genoa, Italy.


CLC-K chloride channels are expressed in the kidney and the inner ear, where they are involved in NaCl reabsorption and endolymph production, respectively. These channels require the beta subunit barttin for proper function. Mutations in ClC-Kb and barttin, lead to Bartter's syndrome. Block of CLC-K channels by acid pH was described in a previous work, and we had identified His-497 as being responsible for the acidic block of CLC-K channels. Here, we show that ClC-K currents are blocked also by alkaline pH with an apparent pK value of ∼8.7 for ClC-K1. Using noise analysis, we demonstrate that alkaline block is mediated by an allosteric reduction of the open probability. By an extensive mutagenic screen we identified K165, a highly conserved residue in the extracellular vestibule of the channel, as the major element responsible for the alkaline pH modulation. Deprotonation of K165 underlies the alkaline block. However, MTS modification of the K165C mutant demonstrated that not only the charge but also the chemical and sterical properties of lysine 165 are determinants of CLC-K gating.

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