Fatty acid modulation and polyamine block of GluK2 kainate receptors analyzed by scanning mutagenesis

Timothy J. Wilding, Kevin Chen, James E. Huettner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


RNA editing of kainate receptor subunits at the Q/R site determines their susceptibility to inhibition by cis-unsaturated fatty acids as well as block by cytoplasmic polyamines. Channels comprised of unedited (Q) subunits are strongly blocked by polyamines, but insensitive to fatty acids, such as arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), whereas homomeric edited (R) channels resist polyamine block but are inhibited by AA and DHA. In the present study, we have analyzed fatty acid modulation of whole-cell currents mediated by homomeric recombinant GluK2 (formerly GluR6) channels with individual residues in the pore-loop, M1 and M3 transmembrane helices replaced by scanning mutagenesis. Our results define three abutting surfaces along the M1, M2, and M3 helices where gain-of-function substitutions render GluK2(Q) channels susceptible to fatty acid inhibition. In addition, we identify four locations in the M3 helix (F611, L614, S618, and T621) at the level of the central cavity where Arg substitution increases relative permeability to chloride and eliminates polyamine block. Remarkably, for two of these positions, L614R and S618R, exposure to fatty acids reduces the apparent chloride permeability and potentiates whole-cell currents ∼5 and 2.5-fold, respectively. Together, our results suggest that AA and DHA alter the orientation of M3 in the open state, depending on contacts at the interface between Ml, M2, and M3. Moreover, our results demonstrate the importance of side chains within the central cavity in determining ionic selectivity and block by cytoplasmic polyamines despite the inverted orientation of GluK2 as compared with potassium channels and other pore-loop family members.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-352
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of General Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010


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