The Journal of biological chemistry

K+-dependent cerebellar granule neuron apoptosis. Role of task leak K+ channels.

PMID 12783883


Rat mature cerebellar granule, unlike hippocampal neurons, die by apoptosis when cultured in a medium containing a physiological concentration of K+ but survive under high external K+ concentrations. Cell death in physiological K+ parallels the developmental expression of the TASK-1 and TASK-3 subunits that encode the pH-sensitive standing outward K+ current IKso. Genetic transfer of the TASK subunits in hippocampal neurons, lacking IKso, induces cell death, while their genetic inactivation protects cerebellar granule neurons. Neuronal death of cultured rat granule neurons is also prevented by conditions that specifically reduce K+ efflux through the TASK-3 channels such as extracellular acidosis and ruthenium red. TASK leak K+ channels thus play an important role in K+-dependent apoptosis of cerebellar granule neurons in culture.