ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels are inhibited by ATP and activated by phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2). Both channel subunits Kir6.2 and sulfonylurea receptor 1 (SUR1) contribute to gating: while Kir6.2 interacts with ATP and PIP2, SUR1 enhances sensitivity to both ligands. Recently, we showed that a mutation, E128K, in the N-terminal transmembrane domain of SUR1 disrupts functional coupling between SUR1 and Kir6.2, leading to reduced ATP and PIP2 sensitivities resembling channels formed by Kir6.2 alone. We show here that when E128K SUR1 was coexpressed with Kir6.2 mutants known to disrupt PIP2 gating, the resulting channels were surprisingly stimulated rather than inhibited by ATP. To explain this paradoxical gating behavior, we propose a model in which the open state of doubly mutant channels is highly unstable; ATP binding induces a conformational change in ATP-unbound closed channels that is conducive to brief opening when ATP unbinds, giving rise to the appearance of ATP-induced stimulation.
- Sulfonylurea receptor 1
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