Identification of the Ca2+ blocking site of Acid-sensing Ion Channel (ASIC) 1: Implications for channel gating

Martin Paukert, Elena Babini, Michael Pusch, Stefan Gründer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Acid-sensing ion channels ASIC1a and ASIC1b are ligand-gated ion channels that are activated by H+ in the physiological range of pH. The apparent affinity for H+ of ASIC1a and 1b is modulated by extracellular Ca2+ through a competition between Ca2+ and H+. Here we show that, in addition to modulating the apparent H + affinity, Ca2+ blocks ASIC1a in the open state (IC 50 ∼ 3.9 mM at pH 5.5), whereas ASIC1b is blocked with reduced affinity (IC50 > 10 mM at pH 4.7). Moreover, we report the identification of the site that mediates this open channel block by Ca 2+. ASICs have two transmembrane domains. The second transmembrane domain M2 has been shown to form the ion pore of the related epithelial Na + channel. Conserved topology and high homology in M2 suggests that M2 forms the ion pore also of ASICs. Combined substitution of an aspartate and a glutamate residue at the beginning of M2 completely abolished block by Ca 2+ of ASIC1a, showing that these two amino acids (E425 and D432) are crucial for Ca2+ block. It has previously been suggested that relief of Ca2+ block opens ASIC3 channels. However, substitutions of E425 or D432 individually or in combination did not open channels constitutively and did not abolish gating by H+ and modulation of H+ affinity by Ca2+. These results show that channel block by Ca2+ and H+ gating are not intrinsically linked.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-394
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of General Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Channel gating
  • Channel pore
  • Epithelial Na channel
  • Ion channel
  • Xenopus oocyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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