Ph.D, University of Göttingen, Germany (Neuroscience)
Pancreatic β-cells express ATP-sensitive potassium (K) channels, consisting of octamer complexes containing four SUR1 and four Kir6.2 subunits. Loss of K channel function causes persistent hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia of infancy (PHHI), a rare but debilitating condition if not treated. We previously showed that the sodium-channel blocker carbamazepine (Carb) corrects K channel surface expression defects induced by PHHI-causing mutations in SUR1. In this study, we show that Carb treatment can also ameliorate the trafficking deficits associated with a recently discovered PHHI-causing mutation in Kir6.2 (Kir6.2-A28V). In HEK293 or INS-1 cells expressing this mutant K channel (SUR1 and Kir6.2-A28V), biotinylation and immunostaining assays revealed that Carb can increase surface expression of the mutant K channels. We further examined the subcellular distributions of mutant K channels before and after Carb treatment; without Carb treatment, we found that mutant K channels were aberrantly accumulated in the Golgi apparatus. However, after Carb treatment, co-immunoprecipitation of mutant K channels and Golgi marker GM130 was diminished, and K staining was also reduced in lysosomes. Intriguingly, Carb treatment also simultaneously increased autophagic flux and p62 accumulation, suggesting that autophagy-dependent degradation of the mutant channel was stimulated, but also interrupted. In summary, our data suggest that surface expression of Kir6.2-A28V K channels is rescued by Carb treatment via promotion of mutant K channel exit from the Golgi apparatus and reduction of autophagy-mediated protein degradation.