pH dependence of the inwardly rectifying potassium channel, Kir5.1, and localization in renal tubular epithelia.
Tucker SJ., Imbrici P., Salvatore L., D'Adamo MC., Pessia M.
The physiological role of the inwardly rectifying potassium channel, Kir5.1, is poorly understood, as is the molecular identity of many renal potassium channels. In this study we have used Kir5.1-specific antibodies to reveal abundant expression of Kir5.1 in renal tubular epithelial cells, where Kir4.1 is also expressed. Moreover, we also show that Kir5.1/Kir4.1 heteromeric channel activity is extremely sensitive to inhibition by intracellular acidification and that this novel property is conferred predominantly by the Kir5.1 subunit. These findings suggest that Kir5.1/Kir4.1 heteromeric channels are likely to exist in vivo and implicate an important and novel functional role for the Kir5.1 subunit.