Subcellular compartment-specific molecular diversity of pre- and post-synaptic GABA-activated GIRK channels in Purkinje cells.
ABSTRACT: Activation of G protein-gated inwardly-rectifying K(+) (GIRK or Kir3) channels by metabotropic gamma-aminobutyric acid (B) (GABA(B)) receptors is an essential signalling pathway controlling neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission in the brain. To investigate the relationship between GIRK channel subunits and GABA(B) receptors in cerebellar Purkinje cells at post- and pre-synaptic sites, we used biochemical, functional and immunohistochemical techniques. Co-immunoprecipitation analysis demonstrated that GIRK subunits are co-assembled with GABA(B) receptors in the cerebellum. Immunoelectron microscopy showed that the subunit composition of GIRK channels in Purkinje cell spines is compartment-dependent. Thus, at extrasynaptic sites GIRK channels are formed by GIRK1/GIRK2/GIRK3, post-synaptic densities contain GIRK2/GIRK3 and dendritic shafts contain GIRK1/GIRK3. The post-synaptic association of GIRK subunits with GABA(B) receptors in Purkinje cells is supported by the subcellular regulation of the ion channel and the receptor in mutant mice. At pre-synaptic sites, GIRK channels localized to parallel fibre terminals are formed by GIRK1/GIRK2/GIRK3 and co-localize with GABA(B) receptors. Consistent with this morphological evidence we demonstrate their functional interaction at axon terminals in the cerebellum by showing that GIRK channels play a role in the inhibition of glutamate release by GABA(B) receptors. The association of GIRK channels and GABA(B) receptors with excitatory synapses at both post- and pre-synaptic sites indicates their intimate involvement in the modulation of glutamatergic neurotransmission in the cerebellum.
Project description:G protein-gated inwardly-rectifying K(+) (GIRK/family 3 of inwardly-rectifying K(+) ) channels are coupled to neurotransmitter action and can play important roles in modulating neuronal excitability. We investigated the temporal and spatial expression of GIRK1, GIRK2 and GIRK3 subunits in the developing and adult brain of mice and rats using biochemical, immunohistochemical and immunoelectron microscopic techniques. At all ages analysed, the overall distribution patterns of GIRK1-3 were very similar, with high expression levels in the neocortex, cerebellum, hippocampus and thalamus. Focusing on the hippocampus, histoblotting and immunohistochemistry showed that GIRK1-3 protein levels increased with age, and this was accompanied by a shift in the subcellular localization of the subunits. Early in development (postnatal day 5), GIRK subunits were predominantly localized to the endoplasmic reticulum in the pyramidal cells, but by postnatal day 60 they were mostly found along the plasma membrane. During development, GIRK1 and GIRK2 were found primarily at postsynaptic sites, whereas GIRK3 was predominantly detected at presynaptic sites. In addition, GIRK1 and GIRK2 expression on the spine plasma membrane showed identical proximal-to-distal gradients that differed from GIRK3 distribution. Furthermore, although GIRK1 was never found within the postsynaptic density (PSD), the level of GIRK2 in the PSD progressively increased and GIRK3 did not change in the PSD during development. Together, these findings shed new light on the developmental regulation and subcellular diversity of neuronal GIRK channels, and support the contention that distinct subpopulations of GIRK channels exert separable influences on neuronal excitability. The ability to selectively target specific subpopulations of GIRK channels may prove effective in the treatment of disorders of excitability.
Project description:G-protein-gated inwardly-rectifying K<sup>+</sup> (GIRK) channels are targets of G<sub>i/o</sub>-protein-signaling systems that inhibit cell excitability. GIRK channels exist as homotetramers (GIRK2 and GIRK4) or heterotetramers with nonfunctional homomeric subunits (GIRK1 and GIRK3). Although they have been implicated in multiple conditions, the lack of selective GIRK drugs that discriminate among the different GIRK channel subtypes has hampered investigations into their precise physiological relevance and therapeutic potential. Here, we report on a highly-specific, potent, and efficacious activator of brain GIRK1/2 channels. Using a chemical screen and electrophysiological assays, we found that this activator, the bromothiophene-substituted small molecule GAT1508, is specific for brain-expressed GIRK1/2 channels rather than for cardiac GIRK1/4 channels. Computational models predicted a GAT1508-binding site validated by experimental mutagenesis experiments, providing insights into how urea-based compounds engage distant GIRK1 residues required for channel activation. Furthermore, we provide computational and experimental evidence that GAT1508 is an allosteric modulator of channel-phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate interactions. Through brain-slice electrophysiology, we show that subthreshold GAT1508 concentrations directly stimulate GIRK currents in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and potentiate baclofen-induced currents. Of note, GAT1508 effectively extinguished conditioned fear in rodents and lacked cardiac and behavioral side effects, suggesting its potential for use in pharmacotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. In summary, our findings indicate that the small molecule GAT1508 has high specificity for brain GIRK1/2 channel subunits, directly or allosterically activates GIRK1/2 channels in the BLA, and facilitates fear extinction in a rodent model.
Project description:Recurrent high-frequency epileptic seizures cause progressive hippocampal sclerosis, which is associated with caspase-3 activation and NMDA receptor-dependent excitotoxicity. However, the identity of caspase-3 substrates that contribute to seizure-induced hippocampal atrophy remains largely unknown. Here, we show that prolonged high-frequency epileptiform discharges in cultured hippocampal neurons leads to caspase-dependent cleavage of GIRK1 and GIRK2, the major subunits of neuronal G protein-activated inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK) channels that mediate membrane hyperpolarization and synaptic inhibition in the brain. We have identified caspase-3 cleavage sites in GIRK1 (387ECLD390) and GIRK2 (349YEVD352). The YEVD motif is highly conserved in GIRK2-4, and located within their C-terminal binding sites for G?? proteins that mediate membrane-delimited GIRK activation. Indeed, the cleaved GIRK2 displays reduced binding to G?? and cannot coassemble with GIRK1. Loss of an ER export motif upon cleavage of GIRK2 abolishes surface and current expression of GIRK2 homotetramic channels. Lastly, kainate-induced status epilepticus causes GIRK1 and GIRK2 cleavage in the hippocampus in vivo. Our findings are the first to show direct cleavage of GIRK1 and GIRK2 subunits by caspase-3, and suggest the possible role of caspase-3 mediated down-regulation of GIRK channel function and expression in hippocampal neuronal injury during prolonged epileptic seizures.
Project description:G protein-gated inwardly rectifying K(+) (Girk/K(IR)3) channels mediate the inhibitory effect of many neurotransmitters on excitable cells. Girk channels are tetramers consisting of various combinations of four mammalian Girk subunits (Girk1 to -4). Although Girk1 is unable to form functional homomeric channels, its presence in cardiac and neuronal channel complexes correlates with robust channel activity. This study sought to better understand the potentiating influence of Girk1, using the GABA(B) receptor and Girk1/Girk2 heteromer as a model system. Girk1 did not increase the protein levels or alter the trafficking of Girk2-containing channels to the cell surface in transfected cells or hippocampal neurons, indicating that its potentiating influence involves enhancement of channel activity. Structural elements in both the distal carboxyl-terminal domain and channel core were identified as key determinants of robust channel activity. In the distal carboxyl-terminal domain, residue Q404 was identified as a key determinant of receptor-induced channel activity. In the Girk1 core, three unique residues in the pore (P) loop (F137, A142, Y150) were identified as a collective potentiating influence on both receptor-dependent and receptor-independent channel activity, exerting their influence, at least in part, by enhancing mean open time and single-channel conductance. Interestingly, the potentiating influence of the Girk1 P-loop is tempered by residue F162 in the second membrane-spanning domain. Thus, discontinuous and sometime opposing elements in Girk1 underlie the Girk1-dependent potentiation of receptor-dependent and receptor-independent heteromeric channel activity.
Project description: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 Kir3.1-4 (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.
Project description:Opioids can evoke analgesia by inhibiting neuronal targets in either the brain or spinal cord, and multiple presynaptic and postsynaptic inhibitory mechanisms have been implicated. The relative significance of presynaptic and postsynaptic inhibition to opioid analgesia is essentially unknown, as are the identities and relevant locations of effectors mediating opioid actions. Here, we examined the distribution of G-protein-gated potassium (GIRK) channels in the mouse spinal cord and measured their contribution to the analgesia evoked by spinal administration of opioid receptor-selective agonists. We found that the GIRK channel subunits GIRK1 and GIRK2 were concentrated in the outer layer of the substantia gelatinosa of the dorsal horn. GIRK1 and GIRK2 were found almost exclusively in postsynaptic membranes of putative excitatory synapses, and a significant degree of overlap with the mu-opioid receptor was observed. Although most GIRK subunit labeling was perisynaptic or extrasynaptic, GIRK2 was found occasionally within the synaptic specialization. Genetic ablation or pharmacologic inhibition of spinal GIRK channels selectively blunted the analgesic effect of high but not lower doses of the mu-opioid receptor-selective agonist [D-Ala(2),N-Me-Phe(4),Gly(5)-ol]-enkephalin. Dose-dependent contributions of GIRK channels to the analgesic effects of the -opioid receptor-selective agonists Tyr-D-Ala-Phe-Glu-Val-Val-Gly amide and [D-Pen(2,5)]-enkephalin were also observed. In contrast, the analgesic effect of the agonist (trans)-3,4-dichloro-N-methyl-N-[2-(1-pyrrolidinyl)-cyclohexyl] benzeneacetamide methanesulfonate hydrate was preserved despite the absence of GIRK channels. We conclude that the activation of postsynaptic GIRK1 and/or GIRK2-containing channels in the spinal cord dorsal horn represents a powerful, albeit relatively insensitive, means by which intrathecal mu- and -selective opioid agonists evoke analgesia.
Project description:Increased nociceptive neuronal excitability underlies chronic pain conditions. Various ion channels, including sodium, calcium and potassium channels have pivotal roles in the control of neuronal excitability. The members of the family of G protein-gated inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK) channels, GIRK1-4, have been implicated in modulating excitability. Here, we investigated the expression and distribution of GIRK1 and GIRK2 in normal and injured dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) and spinal cord of rats.We found that ~70% of the DRG neurons expressed GIRK1, while only <10% expressed GIRK2. The neurochemical profiles of GIRK1- and GIRK2-immunoreactive neurons were characterized using the neuronal markers calcitonin gene-related peptide, isolectin-B4 and neurofilament-200, and the calcium-binding proteins calbindin D28k, calretinin, parvalbumin and secretagogin. Both GIRK subunits were expressed in DRG neurons with nociceptive characteristics. However, while GIRK1 was widely expressed in several sensory neuronal subtypes, GIRK2 was detected mainly in a group of small C-fiber neurons. In the spinal dorsal horn, GIRK1- and -2-positive cell bodies and processes were mainly observed in lamina II, but also in superficial and deeper layers. Abundant GIRK1-, but not GIRK2-like immunoreactivity, was found in the ventral horn (laminae VI-X). Fourteen days after axotomy, GIRK1 and GIRK2 were down-regulated in DRG neurons at the mRNA and protein levels. Both after axotomy and rhizotomy there was a reduction of GIRK1- and -2-positive processes in the dorsal horn, suggesting a presynaptic localization of these potassium channels. Furthermore, nerve ligation caused accumulation of both subunits on both sides of the lesion, providing evidence for anterograde and retrograde fast axonal transport.Our data support the hypothesis that reduced GIRK function is associated with increased neuronal excitability and causes sensory disturbances in post-injury conditions, including neuropathic pain.
Project description:To investigate the effects of various chemical classes of antipsychotic drugs: haloperidol, thioridazine, pimozide and clozapine, on the G-protein-activated inwardly rectifying K(+) (GIRK) channels, we carried out Xenopus oocyte functional assays with GIRK1 and GIRK2 mRNAs or GIRK1 and GIRK4 mRNAs. In oocytes co-injected with GIRK1 and GIRK2 mRNAs, application of each of the various antipsychotic drugs immediately caused a reduction of inward currents through the basally active GIRK channels. These responses were not observed in the presence of 3 mM Ba(2+), which blocks the GIRK channels. In addition, in uninjected oocytes, none of the drugs tested produced any significant current response. These results indicate that all the antipsychotic drugs tested inhibited the brain-type GIRK1/2 heteromultimeric channels. Furthermore, similar results were obtained in oocytes co-injected with GIRK1 and GIRK4 mRNAs, indicating that the antipsychotic drugs also inhibited the cardiac-type GIRK1/4 heteromultimeric channels. All the drugs tested inhibited, in a concentration-dependent manner, both types of GIRK channels with varying degrees of potency and effectiveness at micromolar concentrations. Only pimozide caused slight inhibition of these channels at nanomolar concentrations. We conclude that the various antipsychotic drugs acted as inhibitors at the brain-type and cardiac-type GIRK channels. Our results suggest that inhibition of both types of GIRK channels by these drugs underlies some of the side effects, in particular seizures and sinus tachycardia, observed in clinical practice.
Project description:While the acute inhibitory effect of opioids on locus coeruleus (LC) neurons is mediated primarily by the activation of G protein-gated inwardly-rectifying K(+) (GIRK) channels, the 3'-5'-cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) system has been implicated in the effects of chronic morphine exposure. Presently, the impact of chronic morphine treatment on GIRK-dependent and GIRK-independent mechanisms underlying the opioid-induced inhibition of LC neurons is unclear. Here, opioid-induced postsynaptic inhibition was studied in LC neurons from wild-type and GIRK2/GIRK3(-/-) mice at baseline and following chronic morphine treatment. The postsynaptic inhibition of LC neurons caused by the opioid agonist [Met](5) enkephalin (ME) was unaffected by chronic morphine treatment in mice of either genotype. Furthermore, chronic morphine treatment had no effect on the forskolin augmentation of the ME-induced current in wild-type LC neurons and only a minor effect on the ME-induced current in LC neurons from GIRK2/GIRK3(-/-) mice. Chronic morphine treatment did, however, lead to an increased frequency of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) in the LC. Interestingly, while forskolin augmented the EPSC frequency similarly in untreated and morphine-treated wild-type mice, as well as untreated GIRK2/GIRK3(-/-) mice, it failed to increase the frequency of EPSCs in morphine-treated GIRK2/GIRK3(-/-) mice. Altogether, the findings suggest that chronic morphine treatment exerts little impact on ion channels and signaling pathways that mediate the postsynaptic inhibitory effects of opioids but does enhance excitatory neurotransmission in the mouse LC.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Previous data from our laboratory has indicated that there is a functional link between the beta-adrenergic receptor signaling pathway and the G-protein inwardly rectifying potassium channel (GIRK1) in human breast cancer cell lines. We wanted to determine if GIRK channels were expressed in lung cancers and if a similar link exists in lung cancer. METHODS: GIRK1-4 expression and levels were determined by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and real-time PCR. GIRK protein levels were determined by western blots and cell proliferation was determined by a 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) assay. RESULTS: GIRK1 mRNA was expressed in three of six small cell lung cancer (SCLC) cell lines, and either GIRK2, 3 or 4 mRNA expression was detected in all six SCLC cell lines. Treatment of NCI-H69 with beta2-adrenergic antagonist ICI 118,551 (100 microM) daily for seven days led to slight decreases of GIRK1 mRNA expression levels. Treatment of NCI-H69 with the beta-adrenergic agonist isoproterenol (10 microM) decreased growth rates in these cells. The GIRK inhibitor U50488H (2 microM) also inhibited proliferation, and this decrease was potentiated by isoproterenol. In the SCLC cell lines that demonstrated GIRK1 mRNA expression, we also saw GIRK1 protein expression. We feel these may be important regulatory pathways since no expression of mRNA of the GIRK channels (1 & 2) was found in hamster pulmonary neuroendocrine cells, a suggested cell of origin for SCLC, nor was GIRK1 or 2 expression found in human small airway epithelial cells. GIRK (1,2,3,4) mRNA expression was also seen in A549 adenocarcinoma and NCI-H727 carcinoid cell lines. GIRK1 mRNA expression was not found in tissue samples from adenocarcinoma or squamous cancer patients, nor was it found in NCI-H322 or NCI-H441 adenocarcinoma cell lines. GIRK (1,3,4) mRNA expression was seen in three squamous cell lines, GIRK2 was only expressed in one squamous cell line. However, GIRK1 protein expression was not seen in any non-SCLC cells. CONCLUSION: We feel that this data may indicate that stimulation of GIRK1 or GIRK2 channels may be important in lung cancer. Stimulation of GIRK channels and beta-adrenergic signaling may activate similar signaling pathways in both SCLC and breast cancer, but lead to different results.