Prolonged seizure activity causes caspase dependent cleavage and dysfunction of G-protein activated inwardly rectifying potassium channels.
ABSTRACT: 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/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-activated inwardly rectifying K(+) (GIRK) channels regulate neuronal excitability by mediating inhibitory effects of G protein-coupled receptors for neurotransmitters and neuromodulators. Notwithstanding many studies reporting modulation of GIRK channel function, whether neuronal activity regulates GIRK channel trafficking remains an open question. Here we report that NMDA receptor activation in cultured dissociated hippocampal neurons elevates surface expression of the GIRK channel subunits GIRK1 and GIRK2 in the soma, dendrites, and dendritic spines within 15 min. This activity-induced increase in GIRK surface expression requires protein phosphatase-1-mediated dephosphorylation of a serine residue (Ser-9) preceding the GIRK2 Val-13/Leu-14 (VL) internalization motif, thereby promoting channel recycling. Because activation of GIRK channels hyperpolarizes neuronal membranes, the NMDA receptor-induced regulation of GIRK channel trafficking may represent a dynamic adjustment of neuronal excitability in response to inhibitory neurotransmitters and/or neuromodulators.
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: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:Ts65Dn, a mouse model of Down syndrome (DS), demonstrates abnormal hippocampal synaptic plasticity and behavioral abnormalities related to spatial learning and memory. The molecular mechanisms leading to these impairments have not been identified. In this study, we focused on the G-protein-activated inwardly rectifying potassium channel 2 (GIRK2) gene that is highly expressed in the hippocampus region. We studied the expression pattern of GIRK subunits in Ts65Dn and found that GIRK2 was overexpressed in all analyzed Ts65Dn brain regions. Interestingly, elevated levels of GIRK2 protein in the Ts65Dn hippocampus and frontal cortex correlated with elevated levels of GIRK1 protein. This suggests that heteromeric GIRK1-GIRK2 channels are overexpressed in Ts65Dn hippocampus and frontal cortex, which could impair excitatory input and modulate spike frequency and synaptic kinetics in the affected regions. All GIRK2 splicing isoforms examined were expressed at higher levels in the Ts65Dn in comparison to the diploid hippocampus. The pattern of GIRK2 expression in the Ts65Dn mouse brain revealed by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry was similar to that previously reported in the rodent brain. However, in the Ts65Dn mouse a strong immunofluorescent staining of GIRK2 was detected in the lacunosum molecular layer of the CA3 area of the hippocampus. In addition, tyrosine hydroxylase containing dopaminergic neurons that coexpress GIRK2 were more numerous in the substantia nigra compacta and ventral tegmental area in the Ts65Dn compared to diploid controls. In summary, the regional localization and the increased brain levels coupled with known function of the GIRK channel may suggest an important contribution of GIRK2 containing channels to Ts65Dn and thus to DS neurophysiological phenotypes.
Project description:Although the efficacy of peripherally administered opioid has been demonstrated in preclinical and clinical studies, the underlying mechanisms of its anti-hyperalgesic effects are poorly understood. G protein-coupled inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK) channels are linked to opioid receptors in the brain. However, the role of peripheral GIRK channels in analgesia induced by peripherally administered opioid, especially in trigeminal system, is not clear.Expression of GIRK subunits in rat trigeminal ganglia (TG) was examined with reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, Western blot and immunohistochemistry. Chemical profiles of GIRK-expressing neurons in TG were further characterized. Behavioural and Fos experiments were performed to examine the functional involvement of GIRK channels in ?-opioid receptor (DOR)-mediated anti-hyperalgesia under an acute myositis condition.TG expressed mRNA and proteins for GIRK1 and GIRK2 subunits. Majority of GIRK1- and GIRK2-expressing neurons were non-peptidergic afferents. Inhibition of peripheral GIRK using Tertiapin-Q (TPQ) attenuated antinociceptive effects of peripherally administered DOR agonist, [D-Pen(2), D-Pen(6) ]-enkephalin (DPDPE), on mechanical hypersensitivity in masseter muscle. Furthermore, TPQ attenuated the suppressive effects of peripheral DPDPE on neuronal activation in the subnucleus caudalis of the trigeminal nucleus (Vc) following masseteric injection of capsaicin.Our data indicate that peripheral DOR agonist-induced suppression of mechanical hypersensitivity in the masseter muscle involves the activity of peripheral GIRK channels. These results could provide a rationale for developing a novel therapeutic approach using peripheral GIRK channel openers to mimic or supplement the effects of peripheral opioid agonist.
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.
Project description:Atomoxetine and reboxetine are commonly used as selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (NRIs) for the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and depression, respectively. Furthermore, recent studies have suggested that NRIs may be useful for the treatment of several other psychiatric disorders. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the various effects of NRIs have not yet been sufficiently clarified. G-protein-activated inwardly rectifying K(+) (GIRK or Kir3) channels have an important function in regulating neuronal excitability and heart rate, and GIRK channel modulation has been suggested to be a potential treatment for several neuropsychiatric disorders and cardiac arrhythmias. In this study, we investigated the effects of atomoxetine and reboxetine on GIRK channels using the Xenopus oocyte expression assay. In oocytes injected with mRNA for GIRK1/GIRK2, GIRK2, or GIRK1/GIRK4 subunits, extracellular application of atomoxetine or reboxetine reversibly reduced GIRK currents. The inhibitory effects were concentration-dependent, but voltage-independent, and time-independent during each voltage pulse. However, Kir1.1 and Kir2.1 channels were insensitive to atomoxetine and reboxetine. Atomoxetine and reboxetine also inhibited GIRK currents induced by activation of cloned A(1) adenosine receptors or by intracellularly applied GTPgammaS, a nonhydrolyzable GTP analogue. Furthermore, the GIRK currents induced by ethanol were concentration-dependently inhibited by extracellularly applied atomoxetine but not by intracellularly applied atomoxetine. The present results suggest that atomoxetine and reboxetine inhibit brain- and cardiac-type GIRK channels, revealing a novel characteristic of clinically used NRIs. GIRK channel inhibition may contribute to some of the therapeutic effects of NRIs and adverse side effects related to nervous system and heart function.
Project description:Stable complexes among G proteins and effectors are an emerging concept in cell signaling. The prototypical G betagamma effector G protein-activated K(+) channel (GIRK; Kir3) physically interacts with G betagamma but also with G alpha(i/o). Whether and how G alpha(i/o) subunits regulate GIRK in vivo is unclear. We studied triple interactions among GIRK subunits 1 and 2, G alpha(i3) and G betagamma. We used in vitro protein interaction assays and in vivo intramolecular Förster resonance energy transfer (i-FRET) between fluorophores attached to N and C termini of either GIRK1 or GIRK2 subunit. We demonstrate, for the first time, that G betagamma and G alpha(i3) distinctly and interdependently alter the conformational states of the heterotetrameric GIRK1/2 channel. Biochemical experiments show that G betagamma greatly enhances the binding of GIRK1 subunit to G alpha(i3)(GDP) and, unexpectedly, to G alpha(i3)(GTP). i-FRET showed that both G alpha(i3) and G betagamma induced distinct conformational changes in GIRK1 and GIRK2. Moreover, GIRK1 and GIRK2 subunits assumed unique, distinct conformations when coexpressed with a "constitutively active" G alpha(i3) mutant and G betagamma together. These conformations differ from those assumed by GIRK1 or GIRK2 after separate coexpression of either G alpha(i3) or G betagamma. Both biochemical and i-FRET data suggest that GIRK acts as the nucleator of the GIRK-G alpha-G betagamma signaling complex and mediates allosteric interactions between G alpha(i)(GTP) and G betagamma. Our findings imply that G alpha(i/o) and the G alpha(i) betagamma heterotrimer can regulate a G betagamma effector both before and after activation by neurotransmitters.