Tertiapin-Q blocks recombinant and native large conductance K+ channels in a use-dependent manner



Publication Details

Kanjhan, R., Coulson, E. J., Adams, D. J. & Bellingham, M. C. (2005). Tertiapin-Q blocks recombinant and native large conductance K+ channels in a use-dependent manner. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 314 (3), 1353-1361.


Tertiapin, a short peptide from honey bee venom, has been reported to specifically block the inwardly rectifying K+ (Kir) channels, including G protein-coupled inwardly rectifying potassium channel (GIRK) 1+GIRK4 heteromultimers and ROMK1 homomultimers. In the present study, the effects of a stable and functionally similar derivative of tertiapin, tertiapin-Q, were examined on recombinant human voltage-dependent Ca2+-activated large conductance K+ channel (BK or MaxiK; α-subunit or hSlo1 homomultimers) and mouse inwardly rectifying GIRK1+GIRK2 (i.e., Kir3.1 and Kir3.2) heteromultimeric K+ channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes and in cultured newborn mouse dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. In two-electrode voltage-clamped oocytes, tertiapin-Q (1-100 nM) inhibited BK-type K+ channels in a use- and concentration-dependent manner. We also confirmed the inhibition of recombinant GIRK1+GIRK2 heteromultimers by tertiapin-Q, which had no effect on endogenous depolarization- and hyperpolarization-activated currents sensitive to extracellular divalent cations (Ca2+, Mg2+, Zn2+, and Ba2+) in defolliculated oocytes. In voltage-clamped DRG neurons, tertiapin-Q voltage- and use-dependently inhibited outwardly rectifying K+ currents, but Cs+-blocked hyperpolarization-activated inward currents including IH were insensitive to tertiapin-Q, baclofen, barium, and zinc, suggesting absence of functional GIRK channels in the newborn. Under current-clamp conditions, tertiapin-Q blocked the action potential after hyperpolarization (AHP) and increased action potential duration in DRG neurons. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the blocking actions of tertiapin-Q are not specific to Kir channels and that the blockade of recombinant BK channels and native neuronal AHP currents is use-dependent. Inhibition of specific types of Kir and voltage-dependent Ca2+-activated K+ channels by tertiapin-Q at nanomolar range via different mechanisms may have implications in pain physiology and therapy.

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