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ATP-sensitive K+ (K(ATP)) channels are hetero-octamers of inwardly rectifying K+ channel (Kir6.2) and sulphonylurea receptor subunits (SUR1 in pancreatic beta-cells, SUR2A in heart). Heterozygous gain-of-function mutations in Kir6.2 cause neonatal diabetes, which may be accompanied by epilepsy and developmental delay. However, despite the importance of K(ATP) channels in the heart, patients have no obvious cardiac problems. We examined the effects of adenine nucleotides on K(ATP) channels containing wild-type or mutant (Q52R, R201H) Kir6.2 plus either SUR1 or SUR2A. In the absence of Mg2+, both mutations reduced ATP inhibition of SUR1- and SUR2A-containing channels to similar extents, but when Mg2+ was present ATP blocked mutant channels containing SUR1 much less than SUR2A channels. Mg-nucleotide activation of SUR1, but not SUR2A, channels was markedly increased by the R201H mutation. Both mutations also increased resting whole-cell K(ATP) currents through heterozygous SUR1-containing channels to a greater extent than for heterozygous SUR2A-containing channels. The greater ATP inhibition of mutant Kir6.2/SUR2A than of Kir6.2/SUR1 can explain why gain-of-function Kir6.2 mutations manifest effects in brain and beta-cells but not in the heart.

Original publication




Journal article


J Physiol

Publication Date





3 - 14


ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters, Adenine Nucleotides, Adenosine Triphosphate, Animals, Cell Line, Cloning, Molecular, Diabetes Mellitus, Female, Glucose, Heterozygote, Humans, Insulin-Secreting Cells, Magnesium, Membrane Potentials, Mutation, Myocardium, Oocytes, Patch-Clamp Techniques, Potassium Channels, Potassium Channels, Inwardly Rectifying, Rats, Receptors, Drug, Sulfonylurea Receptors, Xenopus laevis