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Pancreatic α-cells exhibit oscillations in cytosolic Ca (Ca), which control pulsatile glucagon (GCG) secretion. However, the mechanisms that modulate α-cell Ca oscillations have not been elucidated. As β-cell Ca oscillations are regulated in part by Ca-activated K (K) currents, this work investigated the role of K in α-cell Ca handling and GCG secretion. α-Cells displayed K currents that were dependent on Ca influx through L- and P/Q-type voltage-dependent Ca channels (VDCCs) as well as Ca released from endoplasmic reticulum stores. α-Cell K was decreased by small-conductance Ca-activated K (SK) channel inhibitors apamin and UCL 1684, large-conductance Ca-activated K (BK) channel inhibitor iberiotoxin (IbTx), and intermediate-conductance Ca-activated K (IK) channel inhibitor TRAM 34. Moreover, partial inhibition of α-cell K with apamin depolarized membrane potential ( V) (3.8 ± 0.7 mV) and reduced action potential (AP) amplitude (10.4 ± 1.9 mV). Although apamin transiently increased Ca influx into α-cells at low glucose (42.9 ± 10.6%), sustained SK (38.5 ± 10.4%) or BK channel inhibition (31.0 ± 11.7%) decreased α-cell Ca influx. Total α-cell Ca was similarly reduced (28.3 ± 11.1%) following prolonged treatment with high glucose, but it was not decreased further by SK or BK channel inhibition. Consistent with reduced α-cell Ca following prolonged K inhibition, apamin decreased GCG secretion from mouse (20.4 ± 4.2%) and human (27.7 ± 13.1%) islets at low glucose. These data demonstrate that K activation provides a hyperpolarizing influence on α-cell V that sustains Ca entry during hypoglycemic conditions, presumably by preventing voltage-dependent inactivation of P/Q-type VDCCs. Thus, when α-cell Ca is elevated during secretagogue stimulation, K activation helps to preserve GCG secretion.
G protein-gated inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK) channels are potassium-selective ion channels. As their name suggests, GIRK channels are effectors of G G protein-couple receptors whereby activation of these GPCRs leads to increased GIRK channel activity resulting in decreased cellular excitability. In this way, GIRK channels play diverse roles in physiology as effectors of G-coupled GPCRs: peacemaking in the heart rate, modulation of hormone secretion in endocrine tissues, as well as numerous CNS functions including learning, memory, and addiction/reward. Notably, GIRK channels are widely expressed along the spinothalamic tract and are positioned to play roles in both ascending and descending pain pathways. More notably, GIRK channel knockout and knock-down studies have found that GIRK channels play a major role in the action of opioid analgesics which act predominantly through G-coupled, opioid-activated GPCRs (e.g., μ-opioid receptors). Recent advances in GIRK channel pharmacology have led to the development of small molecules that directly and selectively activate GIRK channels. Based on research implicating the involvement of GIRK channels in pain pathways and as effectors of opioid analgesics, we conducted a study to determine whether direct pharmacological activation of GIRK channels could produce analgesic efficacy and/or augment the analgesic efficacy morphine, an opioid receptor agonist capable of activating μ-opioid receptors as well as other opioid receptor subtypes. In the present study, we demonstrate that the small-molecule GIRK activator, VU0466551, has analgesic effects when dosed alone or in combination with submaximally effective doses of morphine.
G protein-gated, inwardly rectifying, potassium (GIRK) channels are important regulators of cellular excitability throughout the body. GIRK channels are heterotetrameric and homotetrameric combinations of the K3.1-4 (GIRK1-4) subunits. Different subunit combinations are expressed throughout the central nervous system (CNS) and the periphery, and most of these combinations contain a GIRK1 subunit. For example, the predominance of GIRK channels in the CNS are composed of GIRK1 and GIRK2 subunits, while the GIRK channels in cardiac atrial myocytes are made up mostly of GIRK1 and GIRK4 subunits. Although the vast majority of GIRK channels contain a GIRK1 subunit, discrete populations of cells that express non-GIRK1-containing GIRK (non-GIRK1/X) channels do exist. For instance, dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area of the brain, associated with addiction and reward, do not express the GIRK1 subunit. Targeting these non-GIRK1/X channels with subunit-selective pharmacological probes could lead to important insights into how GIRK channels are involved in reward and addiction. Such insights may, in turn, reveal therapeutic opportunities for the treatment or prevention of addiction. Previously, our laboratory discovered small molecules that can specifically modulate the activity of GIRK1-containing GIRK channels. However, efforts to generate compounds active on non-GIRK1/X channels from these scaffolds have been unsuccessful. Recently, ivermectin was shown to modulate non-GIRK1/X channels, and historically, ivermectin is known to modulate a wide variety of neuronal channels and receptors. Further, ivermectin is a complex natural product, which makes it a challenging starting point for development of more selective, effective, and potent compounds. Thus, while ivermectin provides proof-of-concept as a non-GIRK1/X channel activator, it is of limited utility. Therefore, we sought to discover a synthetic small molecule that would serve as a starting point for the development of non-GIRK1/X channel modulators. To accomplish this, we used a high-throughput thallium flux assay to screen a 100 000-compound library in search of activators of homomeric GIRK2 channels. Using this approach, we discovered VU0529331, the first synthetic small molecule reported to activate non-GIRK1/X channels, to our knowledge. This discovery represents the first step toward developing potent and selective non-GIRK1/X channel probes. Such molecules will help elucidate the role of GIRK channels in addiction, potentially establishing a foundation for future development of therapies utilizing targeted GIRK channel modulation.
Thallium (Tl+) flux assays enable imaging of potassium (K+) channel activity in cells and tissues by exploiting the permeability of K+ channels to Tl+ coupled with a fluorescent Tl+ sensitive dye. Common Tl+ sensing dyes utilize fluorescein as the fluorophore though fluorescein exhibits certain undesirable properties in these assays including short excitation wavelengths and pH sensitivity. To overcome these drawbacks, the replacement of fluorescein with rhodols was investigated. A library of 13 rhodol-based Tl+ sensors was synthesized and their properties and performance in Tl+ flux assays evaluated. The dimethyl rhodol Tl+ sensor emerged as the best of the series and performed comparably to fluorescein-based sensors while demonstrating greater pH tolerance in the physiological range and excitation and emission spectra 30 nm red-shifted from fluorescein.
The inward rectifier potassium (Kir) channel Kir4.1 () carries out important physiologic roles in epithelial cells of the kidney, astrocytes in the central nervous system, and stria vascularis of the inner ear. Loss-of-function mutations in lead to EAST/SeSAME syndrome, which is characterized by epilepsy, ataxia, renal salt wasting, and sensorineural deafness. Although genetic approaches have been indispensable for establishing the importance of Kir4.1 in the normal function of these tissues, the availability of pharmacological tools for acutely manipulating the activity of Kir4.1 in genetically normal animals has been lacking. We therefore carried out a high-throughput screen of 76,575 compounds from the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology library for small-molecule modulators of Kir4.1. The most potent inhibitor identified was 2-(2-bromo-4-isopropylphenoxy)--(2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidin-4-yl)acetamide (VU0134992). In whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology experiments, VU0134992 inhibits Kir4.1 with an IC value of 0.97 M and is 9-fold selective for homomeric Kir4.1 over Kir4.1/5.1 concatemeric channels (IC = 9 M) at -120 mV. In thallium (Tl) flux assays, VU0134992 is greater than 30-fold selective for Kir4.1 over Kir1.1, Kir2.1, and Kir2.2; is weakly active toward Kir2.3, Kir6.2/SUR1, and Kir7.1; and is equally active toward Kir3.1/3.2, Kir3.1/3.4, and Kir4.2. This potency and selectivity profile is superior to Kir4.1 inhibitors amitriptyline, nortriptyline, and fluoxetine. Medicinal chemistry identified components of VU0134992 that are critical for inhibiting Kir4.1. Patch-clamp electrophysiology, molecular modeling, and site-directed mutagenesis identified pore-lining glutamate 158 and isoleucine 159 as critical residues for block of the channel. VU0134992 displayed a large free unbound fraction () in rat plasma ( = 0.213). Consistent with the known role of Kir4.1 in renal function, oral dosing of VU0134992 led to a dose-dependent diuresis, natriuresis, and kaliuresis in rats. Thus, VU0134992 represents the first in vivo active tool compound for probing the therapeutic potential of Kir4.1 as a novel diuretic target for the treatment of hypertension.
Copyright © 2018 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
The acquired and congenital forms of long QT syndrome represent 2 distinct but clinically and genetically intertwined disorders of cardiac repolarization characterized by the shared final common pathway of QT interval prolongation and risk of potentially life-threatening arrhythmias. Over the past 2 decades, our understanding of the spectrum of genetic variation that (1) perturbs the function of cardiac ion channel macromolecular complexes and intracellular calcium-handling proteins, (2) underlies acquired/congenital long QT syndrome susceptibility, and (3) serves as a determinant of QT interval duration in the general population has grown exponentially. In turn, these molecular insights led to the development and increased utilization of clinically impactful genetic testing for congenital long QT syndrome. However, the widespread adoption and potential misinterpretation of the 2015 American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics variant classification and reporting guidelines may have contributed unintentionally to the reduced reporting of common genetic variants, with compelling epidemiological and functional evidence to support a potentially proarrhythmic role in patients with congenital and acquired long QT syndrome. As a result, some genetic testing reports may fail to convey the full extent of a patient's genetic susceptibility for a potentially life-threatening arrhythmia to the ordering healthcare professional. In this white paper, we examine the current classification and reporting (or lack thereof) of potentially proarrhythmic common genetic variants and investigate potential mechanisms to facilitate the reporting of these genetic variants without increasing the risk of diagnostic miscues.
© 2018 American Heart Association, Inc.
Neuroinflammation is consistently found in many neurological disorders, but whether or not the inflammatory response independently affects neuronal network properties is poorly understood. Here, we report that intracerebroventricular injection of the prototypical inflammatory molecule lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in rats triggered a strong and long-lasting inflammatory response in hippocampal microglia associated with a concomitant upregulation of Toll-like receptor (TLR4) in pyramidal and hilar neurons. This, in turn, was associated with a significant reduction of the dendritic hyperpolarization-activated cyclic AMP-gated channel type 1 (HCN1) protein level while Kv4.2 channels were unaltered as assessed by western blot. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the HCN1 decrease in CA1 pyramidal neurons and showed that these changes were associated with a reduction of TRIP8b, an auxiliary subunit for HCN channels implicated in channel subcellular localization and trafficking. At the physiological level, this effect translated into a 50% decrease in HCN1-mediated currents (I) measured in the distal dendrites of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells. At the functional level, the band-pass-filtering properties of dendrites in the theta frequency range (4-12 Hz) and their temporal summation properties were compromised. We conclude that neuroinflammation can independently trigger an acquired channelopathy in CA1 pyramidal cell dendrites that alters their integrative properties. By directly changing cellular function, this phenomenon may participate in the phenotypic expression of various brain diseases.
OBJECTIVE - Single-cell RNA sequencing studies have revealed that the type-2 diabetes associated two-pore domain K (K2P) channel TALK-1 is abundantly expressed in somatostatin-secreting δ-cells. However, a physiological role for TALK-1 in δ-cells remains unknown. We previously determined that in β-cells, K flux through endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-localized TALK-1 channels enhances ER Ca leak, modulating Ca handling and insulin secretion. As glucose amplification of islet somatostatin release relies on Ca-induced Ca release (CICR) from the δ-cell ER, we investigated whether TALK-1 modulates δ-cell Ca handling and somatostatin secretion.
METHODS - To define the functions of islet δ-cell TALK-1 channels, we generated control and TALK-1 channel-deficient (TALK-1 KO) mice expressing fluorescent reporters specifically in δ- and α-cells to facilitate cell type identification. Using immunofluorescence, patch clamp electrophysiology, Ca imaging, and hormone secretion assays, we assessed how TALK-1 channel activity impacts δ- and α-cell function.
RESULTS - TALK-1 channels are expressed in both mouse and human δ-cells, where they modulate glucose-stimulated changes in cytosolic Ca and somatostatin secretion. Measurement of cytosolic Ca levels in response to membrane potential depolarization revealed enhanced CICR in TALK-1 KO δ-cells that could be abolished by depleting ER Ca with sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca ATPase (SERCA) inhibitors. Consistent with elevated somatostatin inhibitory tone, we observed significantly reduced glucagon secretion and α-cell Ca oscillations in TALK-1 KO islets, and found that blockade of α-cell somatostatin signaling with a somatostatin receptor 2 (SSTR2) antagonist restored glucagon secretion in TALK-1 KO islets.
CONCLUSIONS - These data indicate that TALK-1 reduces δ-cell cytosolic Ca elevations and somatostatin release by limiting δ-cell CICR, modulating the intraislet paracrine signaling mechanisms that control glucagon secretion.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier GmbH.. All rights reserved.
Cytokines present during low-grade inflammation contribute to β-cell dysfunction and diabetes. Cytokine signaling disrupts β-cell glucose-stimulated Ca influx (GSCI) and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca ([Ca]) handling, leading to diminished glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS). However, cytokine-mediated changes in ion channel activity that alter β-cell Ca handling remain unknown. Here we investigated the role of K currents in cytokine-mediated β-cell dysfunction. K currents, which control the termination of intracellular Ca ([Ca]) oscillations, were reduced following cytokine exposure. As a consequence, [Ca] and electrical oscillations were accelerated. Cytokine exposure also increased basal islet [Ca] and decreased GSCI. The effect of cytokines on TALK-1 K currents were also examined as TALK-1 mediates K by facilitating [Ca] release. Cytokine exposure decreased KCNK16 transcript abundance and associated TALK-1 protein expression, increasing [Ca] storage while maintaining 2 phase GSCI and GSIS. This adaptive Ca response was absent in TALK-1 KO islets, which exhibited decreased 2 phase GSCI and diminished GSIS. These findings suggest that K and TALK-1 currents play important roles in altered β-cell Ca handling and electrical activity during low-grade inflammation. These results also reveal that a cytokine-mediated reduction in TALK-1 serves an acute protective role in β-cells by facilitating increased Ca content to maintain GSIS.