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TASK channels are background K+ channels that contribute to the resting conductance in many neurons. A key feature of TASK channels is the reversible inhibition by Gq-coupled receptors, thereby mediating the dynamic regulation of neuronal activity by modulatory transmitters. The mechanism that mediates channel inhibition is not fully understood. While it is clear that activation of Gαq is required, the immediate signal for channel closure remains controversial. Experimental evidence pointed to either phospholipase C (PLC)-mediated depletion of phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PI(4,5)P2) as the cause for channel closure or to a direct inhibitory interaction of active Gαq with the channel. Here, we address the role of PI(4,5)P2 for G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR)-mediated TASK inhibition by using recently developed genetically encoded tools to alter phosphoinositide (PI) concentrations in the living cell.When expressed in CHO cells, TASK-1- and TASK-3-mediated currents were not affected by depletion of plasma membrane PI(4,5)P2 either via the voltage-activated phosphatase Ci-VSP or via chemically triggered recruitment of a PI(4,5)P2-5'-phosphatase. Depletion of both PI(4,5)P2 and PI(4)P via membrane recruitment of a novel engineered dual-specificity phosphatase also did not inhibit TASK currents. In contrast, each of these methods produced robust inhibition of the bona fide PI(4,5)P2-dependent channel KCNQ4. Efficient depletion of PI(4,5)P2 and PI(4)P was further confirmed with a fluorescent phosphoinositide sensor. Moreover, TASK channels recovered normally from inhibition by co-expressed muscarinic M1 receptors when resynthesis of PI(4,5)P2 was prevented by depletion of cellular ATP. These results demonstrate that TASK channel activity is independent of phosphoinositide concentrations within the physiological range. Consequently, Gq-mediated inhibition of TASK channels is not mediated by depletion of PI(4,5)P2.

Original publication




Journal article


J Physiol

Publication Date





3149 - 3162


Adenosine Triphosphate, Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, CHO Cells, Cricetinae, Cricetulus, Genes, Switch, Humans, Molecular Sequence Data, Nerve Tissue Proteins, Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-Diphosphate, Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases, Potassium Channels, Tandem Pore Domain, Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled