Hearing research

Genetic perturbations suggest a role of the resting potential in regulating the expression of the ion channels of the KCNA and HCN families in octopus cells of the ventral cochlear nucleus.

PMID 28065805


Low-voltage-activated K(+) (gKL) and hyperpolarization-activated mixed cation conductances (gh) mediate currents, IKL and Ih, through channels of the Kv1 (KCNA) and HCN families respectively and give auditory neurons the temporal precision required for signaling information about the onset, fine structure, and time of arrival of sounds. Being partially activated at rest, gKL and gh contribute to the resting potential and shape responses to even small subthreshold synaptic currents. Resting gKL and gh also affect the coupling of somatic depolarization with the generation of action potentials. To learn how these important conductances are regulated we have investigated how genetic perturbations affect their expression in octopus cells of the ventral cochlear nucleus (VCN). We report five new findings: First, the magnitude of gh and gKL varied over more than two-fold between wild type strains of mice. Second, average resting potentials are not different in different strains of mice even in the face of large differences in average gKL and gh. Third, IKL has two components, one being α-dendrotoxin (α-DTX)-sensitive and partially inactivating and the other being α-DTX-insensitive, tetraethylammonium (TEA)-sensitive, and non-inactivating. Fourth, the loss of Kv1.1 results in diminution of the α-DTX-sensitive IKL, and compensatory increased expression of an α-DTX-insensitive, tetraethylammonium (TEA)-sensitive IKL. Fifth, Ih and IKL are balanced at the resting potential in all wild type and mutant octopus cells even when resting potentials vary in individual cells over nearly 10xa0mV, indicating that the resting potential influences the expression of gh and gKL. The independence of resting potentials on gKL and gh shows that gKL and gh do not, over days or weeks, determine the resting potential but rather that the resting potential plays a role in regulating the magnitude of either or both gKL and gh.

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DNQX, ≥98% (TLC)