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PLoS One. 2018 May 15;13(5):e0197622. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0197622. eCollection 2018.

TRESK background potassium channel is not gated at the helix bundle crossing near the cytoplasmic end of the pore.

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Department of Physiology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.


Two-pore domain K+ channels (K2P) are responsible for background K+ currents and regulate the resting membrane potential and cellular excitability. Their activity is controlled by a large variety of physicochemical factors and intracellular signaling pathways. The majority of these effects converge on the intracellular C-terminus of the channels, resulting in the modification of the gating at the selectivity filter. Another gating mechanism, the activation gate at the helix bundle crossing is also well documented in other K+ channel families, however, it remains uncertain whether this type of gating is functional in K2P channels. The regulation of TWIK-related spinal cord K+ channel (TRESK) is different from the other K2P channels. Regulatory factors acting via the C-terminus are not known, instead channel activity is modified by the phosphorylation/dephosphorylation of the unusually long intracellular loop between the 2nd and 3rd transmembrane segments. These unique structural elements of the regulation lead us to examine channel gating at the bundle crossing region. Ba2+ was applied to the intracellular side of excised membrane patches and the characteristics of the channel block were determined. We compared the kinetics of the development of Ba2+ block when the channels were phosphorylated (inhibited) or dephosphorylated (activated) and also in different mutants mimicking the two functional states. Neither the phosphorylation/dephosphorylation nor the point mutations influenced the development of Ba2+ block, suggesting that the conformational changes of the bundle crossing region do not contribute to the phosphorylation-dependent gating of TRESK.

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