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Biophys J. 1994 Jul;67(1):130-42.

Modulation of 4-AP block of a mammalian A-type K channel clone by channel gating and membrane voltage.

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Department of Pharmacology, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032.


We examined the state-, voltage-, and time dependences of interaction between 4-AP and a mammalian A-type K channel clone (rKv1.4) expressed in Xenopus oocytes using whole-cell and single-channel recordings. 4-AP blocked rKv1.4 from the cytoplasmic side of the membrane. The development of block required channel opening. Block was potentiated by removing the fast inactivation gate of the channel (deletion mutant termed "Del A"). A short-pulse train that activated rKv1.4 without inactivation induced more block by 4-AP than a long pulse that activated and then inactivated the channel. These observations suggest that both activation and inactivation gates limit the binding of 4-AP to the channel. Unblock of 4-AP also occurred during channel opening, because unblock required depolarization and was accelerated by more frequent or longer depolarization pulses (use-dependent unblock). Analysis of the concentration dependence of rate of block development indicated that 4-AP blocked rKv1.4 with slow kinetics (at -20 mV, binding and unbinding rate constants were 3.2 mM-1 s-1 and 4.3 s-1). This was consistent with single-channel recordings: 4-AP induced little or no changes in the fast kinetics of opening and closing within bursts, but shortened the mean burst duration and, more importantly, reduced the probability of channel opening by depolarization. Depolarization might decrease the affinity of 4-AP binding site in the open channel, because stronger depolarization reduced the degree of steady-state block by 4-AP. Furthermore, after 4-AP block had been established at a depolarized holding voltage, further depolarization induced a time-dependent unblock. Our data suggest that 4-AP binds to and unbinds from open rKv1.4 channels with slow kinetics, with the binding site accessibility controlled by the channel gating apparatus and binding site affinity modulated by membrane voltage.

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