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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.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





16404 - 16407


Animals, Base Sequence, DNA Primers, Epithelium, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Immunohistochemistry, Kidney Tubules, Molecular Sequence Data, Potassium Channels, Potassium Channels, Inwardly Rectifying, Rats