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Biophys J. 1998 Nov;75(5):2313-22.

Interaction of Ba2+ with the pores of the cloned inward rectifier K+ channels Kir2.1 expressed in Xenopus oocytes.

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Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R.O.C.


Interactions of Ba2+ with K+ and molecules contributing to inward rectification were studied in the cloned inward rectifier K+ channels, Kir2.1. Extracellular Ba2+ blocked Kir2.1 channels with first-order kinetics in a Vm-dependent manner. At Vm more negative than -120 mV, the Kd-Vm relationship became less steep and the dissociation rate constants were larger, suggesting Ba2+ dissociation into the extracellular space. Both depolarization and increasing [K+]i accelerated the recovery from extracellular Ba2+ blockade. Intracellular K+ appears to relieve Ba2+ blockade by competitively slowing the Ba2+ entrance rate, instead of increasing its exit rate by knocking off action. Intracellular spermine (100 microM) reduced, whereas 1 mM [Mg2+]i only slightly reduced, the ability of intracellular K+ to repulse Ba2+ from the channel pore. Intracellular Ba2+ also blocked outward IKir2.1 in a voltage-dependent fashion. At Vm >/= +40 mV, where intrinsic inactivation is prominent, intracellular Ba2+ accelerated the inactivation rate of the outward IKir2.1 in a Vm-independent manner, suggesting interaction of Ba2+ with the intrinsic gate of Kir2.1 channels.

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