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ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels in the pancreatic beta cell membrane mediate insulin release in response to elevation of plasma glucose levels. They are open at rest but close in response to glucose metabolism, producing a depolarization that stimulates Ca2+ influx and exocytosis. Metabolic regulation of KATP channel activity currently is believed to be mediated by changes in the intracellular concentrations of ATP and MgADP, which inhibit and activate the channel, respectively. The beta cell KATP channel is a complex of four Kir6.2 pore-forming subunits and four SUR1 regulatory subunits: Kir6.2 mediates channel inhibition by ATP, whereas the potentiatory action of MgADP involves the nucleotide-binding domains (NBDs) of SUR1. We show here that MgATP (like MgADP) is able to stimulate KATP channel activity, but that this effect normally is masked by the potent inhibitory effect of the nucleotide. Mg2+ caused an apparent reduction in the inhibitory action of ATP on wild-type KATP channels, and MgATP actually activated KATP channels containing a mutation in the Kir6.2 subunit that impairs nucleotide inhibition (R50G). Both of these effects were abolished when mutations were made in the NBDs of SUR1 that are predicted to abolish MgATP binding and/or hydrolysis (D853N, D1505N, K719A, or K1384M). These results suggest that, like MgADP, MgATP stimulates KATP channel activity by interaction with the NBDs of SUR1. Further support for this idea is that the ATP sensitivity of a truncated form of Kir6.2, which shows functional expression in the absence of SUR1, is unaffected by Mg2+.


Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





7185 - 7190


ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters, Adenosine Triphosphate, Animals, Electrophysiology, Hydrolysis, Ion Channel Gating, Islets of Langerhans, Mice, Mutation, Potassium Channels, Potassium Channels, Inwardly Rectifying, Receptors, Drug, Sulfonylurea Receptors, Xenopus laevis