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Nat Commun. 2014 Nov 25;5:5540. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6540.

Diacylglycerol mediates regulation of TASK potassium channels by Gq-coupled receptors.

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Institute of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Department of Neurophysiology, Philipps University, Deutschhausstr. 1-2, 35037 Marburg, Germany.
Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacy, Philipps University, 35032 Marburg, Germany.


The two-pore domain potassium (K2P) channels TASK-1 (KCNK3) and TASK-3 (KCNK9) are important determinants of background K(+) conductance and membrane potential. TASK-1/3 activity is regulated by hormones and transmitters that act through G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) signalling via G proteins of the Gαq/11 subclass. How the receptors inhibit channel activity has remained unclear. Here, we show that TASK-1 and -3 channels are gated by diacylglycerol (DAG). Receptor-initiated inhibition of TASK required the activity of phospholipase C, but neither depletion of the PLC substrate PI(4,5)P2 nor release of the downstream messengers IP3 and Ca(2+). Attenuation of cellular DAG transients by DAG kinase or lipase suppressed receptor-dependent inhibition, showing that the increase in cellular DAG-but not in downstream lipid metabolites-mediates channel inhibition. The findings identify DAG as the signal regulating TASK channels downstream of GPCRs and define a novel role for DAG that directly links cellular DAG dynamics to excitability.

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