HMJ-53A accelerates slow inactivation gating of voltage-gated K+ channels in mouse neuroblastoma N2A cells

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Voltage-gated K+ (Kv) channels are important in repolarization of excitable cells such as neurons and endocrine cells. Kv channel gating exhibits slow inactivation (slow current decay) during continuous depolarization. The molecular mechanism involved in such slow inactivation is not completely understood, but evidence has suggested that it involves a restriction of the outer channel pore surrounding the selectivity filter. Pharmacological tools probing this slow inactivation process are scarce. In this work we reported that bath application of HMJ-53A (30 μM), a novel compound, could drastically speed up the slow decay (decay τ = 1677 ± 120 ms and 85.6 ± 7.7 ms, respectively, in the absence and presence of HMJ-53A) of Kv currents in neuroblastoma N2A cells. HMJ-53A also significantly left-shifted the steady-state inactivation curve by 12 mV. HMJ-53A, however, did not affect voltage-dependence of activation and the kinetics of channel activation. Intracellular application of this drug through patch pipette dialysis was ineffective at all in accelerating the slow current decay, suggesting that HMJ-53A acted extracellularly. Blockade of currents by HMJ-53A did not require an open state of channels. In addition, the inactivation time constants and percentage block of Kv currents in the presence of HMJ-53A were independent of the (i) degree of depolarization and (ii) intracellular K+ concentration. Therefore, this drug did not appear to directly occlude the outer channel pore during stimulation (depolarization). Taken together, our results suggest that HMJ-53A selectively affected (accelerated) the slow inactivation gating process of Kv channels, and could thus be a selective and novel probe for the inactivation gate.

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