Energetic Performance Is Improved by Specific Activation of K+ Fluxes Through K(Ca) Channels in Heart Mitochondria

Miguel A Aon, Sonia Cortassa, An-Chi Wei, Morten Grunnet, Brian O'Rourke

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010 Jan;1797(1):71-80.

PMID: 19744465


Mitochondrial volume regulation depends on K+ movement across the inner membrane and a mitochondrial Ca2+-dependent K+ channel (mitoK(Ca)) reportedly contributes to mitochondrial K+ uniporter activity. Here we utilize a novel K(Ca) channel activator, NS11021, to examine the role of mitoK(Ca) in regulating mitochondrial function by measuring K+ flux, membrane potential (DeltaPsi(m)), light scattering, and respiration in guinea pig heart mitochondria. K+ uptake and the influence of anions were assessed in mitochondria loaded with the K+ sensor PBFI by adding either the chloride (KCl), acetate (KAc), or phosphate (KH2PO4) salts of K+ to energized mitochondria in a sucrose-based medium. K+ fluxes saturated at approximately 10 mM for each salt, attaining maximal rates of 172+/-17, 54+/-2.4, and 33+/-3.8 nmol K+/min/mg in KCl, KAc, or KH2PO4, respectively. NS11021 (50 nM) increased the maximal K+ uptake rate by 2.5-fold in the presence of KH2PO4 or KAc and increased mitochondrial volume, with little effect on DeltaPsi(m). In KCl, NS11021 increased K+ uptake by only 30% and did not increase volume. The effects of NS11021 on K+ uptake were inhibited by the K(Ca) toxins charybdotoxin (200 nM) or paxilline (1 microM). Fifty nanomolar of NS11021 increased the mitochondrial respiratory control ratio (RCR) in KH2PO4, but not in KCl; however, above 1 microM, NS11021 decreased RCR and depolarized DeltaPsi(m). A control compound lacking K(Ca) activator properties did not increase K+ uptake or volume but had similar nonspecific (toxin-insensitive) effects at high concentrations. The results indicate that activating K+ flux through mitoK(Ca) mediates a beneficial effect on energetics that depends on mitochondrial swelling with maintained DeltaPsi(m).

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