Functional analysis of a migraine-associated TRESK K+ channel mutation

1. Liu, P., Xiao, Z. M., Ren, F., Guo, Z. H., Chen, Z. W., Zhao, H. C., and Cao, Y. Q.; (2013) J Neurosci 33, 12810-12824 Read More


Recent genetic and functional studies suggest that migraine may result from abnormal activities of ion channels and transporters. A frameshift mutation in the human TWIK-related spinal cord K+ (TRESK) channel has been identified in migraine with aura patients in a large pedigree. In Xenopus oocytes, mutant TRESK subunits exert a dominant-negative effect on whole-cell TRESK currents. However, questions remain as to whether and how mutant TRESK subunits affect the membrane properties and the excitability of neurons in the migraine circuit. Here, we investigated the functional consequences of the mutant TRESK subunits in HEK293T cells and mouse trigeminal ganglion (TG) neurons. First, we found that mutant TRESK subunits exhibited dominant-negative effects not only on the size of the whole-cell TRESK currents, but also on the level of TRESK channels on the plasma membrane in HEK293T cells. This likely resulted from the heterodimerization of wild-type and mutant TRESK subunits. Next, we expressed mutant TRESK subunits in cultured TG neurons and observed a significant decrease in the lamotrigine-sensitive K+ current, suggesting that the mutant TRESK subunits have a dominant-negative effect on currents through the endogenous TRESK channels. Current-clamp recordings showed that neurons expressing mutant TRESK subunits had a higher input resistance, a lower current threshold for action potential initiation, and a higher spike frequency in response to suprathreshold stimuli, indicating that the mutation resulted in hyperexcitability of TG neurons. Our results suggest a possible mechanism through which the TRESK mutation increases the susceptibility of migraine headache.

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Posted on February 11, 2014
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