The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Developmental expression and functional characterization of the potassium-channel subunit Kv3.1b in parvalbumin-containing interneurons of the rat hippocampus.

PMID 8551335


The expression of the voltage-gated K(+)-channel subunit Kv3.1b in the developing hippocampus was determined by immunoblot and immunohistochemical techniques. Kv3.1b protein was detected first at postnatal day (P) 8. The Kv3.1b-immunopositive cell number per tissue section reached a maximum at P14 and was maintained through P40. In contrast, the Kv3.1b protein content of isolated membrane vesicles in immunoblots progressively increased through P40, suggesting an increase in Kv3.1b content per cell throughout this time period. Kv3.1b protein was expressed selectively in the somata, proximal dendrites, and axons of cells lying within or near the pyramidal cell layer, consistent with their being GABAergic inhibitory interneurons. Kv3.1b was present in approximately 80% of parvalbumin-positive interneurons. The developmental onset of Kv3.1b and parvalbumin immunoreactivity was identical. In contrast, Kv3.1b was mostly absent from the subset of somatostatin-positive inhibitory interneurons. Electrophysiological recordings were made from stratum pyramidale interneurons in which morphology and Kv3.1b-positive immunoreactivity were confirmed post hoc. Outward currents had voltage-dependent and biophysical properties resembling those of channels formed by Kv3.1b. The current blocked by low concentrations of 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) showed marked inactivation, suggesting that Kv3.1b may coassemble with other members of the Kv3 subfamily. In current-clamp recordings, concentrations of 4-AP that blocked the current through Kv3.1b channels allowed us tentatively to assign a role to Kv3.1b-containing channels in action-potential repolarization. These data demonstrate that Kv3.1b is regulated developmentally in a specific subpopulation of hippocampal interneurons and that channels containing this subunit may be a major determinant in imparting "fast-spiking" characteristics to these and other cells throughout the central nervous system containing the Kv3.1b subunit.