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FEBS Lett. 1997 Apr 1;405(3):337-44.

Extracellular K+ and Ba2+ mediate voltage-dependent inactivation of the outward-rectifying K+ channel encoded by the yeast gene TOK1.

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Laboratory of Plant Physiology and Biophysics, Wye College, University of London, Kent, UK.


Gating of the yeast K+ channel encoded by the Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene TOK1, unlike other outward-rectifying K+ channels that have been cloned, is promoted by membrane voltage (inside positive-going) and repressed by extracellular K+. When expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes, the TOK1p current rectified strongly outward, its activation shifting in parallel with the K+ equilibrium potential when the external K+ concentration ([K+]o) was increased above 3 mM. Analysis of the TOK1p current indicated that two kinetic components contributed to the conductance and the voltage sensitivity of the conductance. By contrast, the [K+]o sensitivity of the current was accommodated entirely within the slow-relaxing component; it was diminished near 1 mM [K+]o, and at submillimolar concentrations the voltage dependence of the TOK1p conductance was insensitive to [K+]o. External Rb+, the K+ channel blockers Cs+ and Ba2+--but not Na+, Ca2+ or Mg2+--substituted for K+ in control of TOK1p activation, indicating a specificity in cation interaction with the TOK1p gate. These and additional results indicate that external K+ acts as a ligand to inactivate the TOK1p channel, and they implicate a gating process mediated by a single cation binding site within the membrane electric field, but distinct from the permeation pathway.

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