Acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) are members of the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC)-degenerin family of two-pass transmembrane segment protein subunits which form multimeric cation channels. Members of the ENaC-degenerin family are gated by stimuli as diverse as protons, peptides and mechanical distension. Here we describe a new member of the family, SPASIC or ASIC 4 (spinal cord ASIC) which is expressed throughout the central nervous system in an overlapping population of neurons that also express the ASIC subunit MDEG2. ASIC-4 which shows 44% identify with ASIC is developmentally regulated and expressed in a subset of sensory neurons as well as in the CNS. However, despite the strong homology with ASIC, the ASIC-4 transcript does not encode a proton gated cation channel. (C) 2000 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
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