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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Oct 28;94(22):12210-7.

Defective gamma-aminobutyric acid type B receptor-activated inwardly rectifying K+ currents in cerebellar granule cells isolated from weaver and Girk2 null mutant mice.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Departments of Physiology and Biochemistry, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0724, USA.


Stimulation of inhibitory neurotransmitter receptors, such as gamma-aminobutyric acid type B (GABAB) receptors, activates G protein-gated inwardly rectifying K+ channels (GIRK) which, in turn, influence membrane excitability. Seizure activity has been reported in a Girk2 null mutant mouse lacking GIRK2 channels but showing normal cerebellar development as well as in the weaver mouse, which has mutated GIRK2 channels and shows abnormal development. To understand how the function of GIRK2 channels differs in these two mutant mice, we compared the G protein-activated inwardly rectifying K+ currents in cerebellar granule cells isolated from Girk2 null mutant and weaver mutant mice with those from wild-type mice. Activation of GABAB receptors in wild-type granule cells induced an inwardly rectifying K+ current, which was sensitive to pertussis toxin and inhibited by external Ba2+ ions. The amplitude of the GABAB receptor-activated current was severely attenuated in granule cells isolated from both weaver and Girk2 null mutant mice. By contrast, the G protein-gated inwardly rectifying current and possibly the agonist-independent basal current appeared to be less selective for K+ ions in weaver but not Girk2 null mutant granule cells. Our results support the hypothesis that a nonselective current leads to the weaver phenotype. The loss of GABAB receptor-activated GIRK current appears coincident with the absence of GIRK2 channel protein and the reduction of GIRK1 channel protein in the Girk2 null mutant mouse, suggesting that GABAB receptors couple to heteromultimers composed of GIRK1 and GIRK2 channel subunits.

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