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The Journal of General Physiology

Year: 2010  |  Volume: 135  |  Issue: 3  |  Page No.: 275 - 295

Activation of Slo2.1 channels by niflumic acid

L Dai, V Garg and M. C. Sanguinetti


Slo2.1 channels conduct an outwardly rectifying K+ current when activated by high [Na+]i. Here, we show that gating of these channels can also be activated by fenamates such as niflumic acid (NFA), even in the absence of intracellular Na+. In Xenopus oocytes injected with <10 ng cRNA, heterologously expressed human Slo2.1 current was negligible, but rapidly activated by extracellular application of NFA (EC50 = 2.1 mM) or flufenamic acid (EC50 = 1.4 mM). Slo2.1 channels activated by 1 mM NFA exhibited weak voltage dependence. In high [K+]e, the conductance–voltage (G-V) relationship had a V1/2 of +95 mV and an effective valence, z, of 0.48 e. Higher concentrations of NFA shifted V1/2 to more negative potentials (EC50 = 2.1 mM) and increased the minimum value of G/Gmax (EC50 = 2.4 mM); at 6 mM NFA, Slo2.1 channel activation was voltage independent. In contrast, V1/2 of the G-V relationship was shifted to more positive potentials when [K+]e was elevated from 1 to 300 mM (EC50 = 21.2 mM). The slope conductance measured at the reversal potential exhibited the same [K+]e dependency (EC50 = 23.5 mM). Conductance was also [Na+]e dependent. Outward currents were reduced when Na+ was replaced with choline or mannitol, but unaffected by substitution with Rb+ or Li+. Neutralization of charged residues in the S1–S4 domains did not appreciably alter the voltage dependence of Slo2.1 activation. Thus, the weak voltage dependence of Slo2.1 channel activation is independent of charged residues in the S1–S4 segments. In contrast, mutation of R190 located in the adjacent S4–S5 linker to a neutral (Ala or Gln) or acidic (Glu) residue induced constitutive channel activity that was reduced by high [K+]e. Collectively, these findings indicate that Slo2.1 channel gating is modulated by [K+]e and [Na+]e, and that NFA uncouples channel activation from its modulation by transmembrane voltage and intracellular Na+.

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