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This article has been peer reviewed. It was published in: Journal of general physiology.

Volume 131, Issue 3, March 2008, Pages 257-273.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1085/jgp.200709938. Copyright © Rockefeller University Press.


Kv4 channels mediate the somatodendritic A-type K+ current (I(SA)) in neurons. The availability of functional Kv4 channels is dynamically regulated by the membrane potential such that subthreshold depolarizations render Kv4 channels unavailable. The underlying process involves inactivation from closed states along the main activation pathway. Although classical inactivation mechanisms such as N- and P/C-type inactivation have been excluded, a clear understanding of closed-state inactivation in Kv4 channels has remained elusive. This is in part due to the lack of crucial information about the interactions between gating charge (Q) movement, activation, and inactivation. To overcome this limitation, we engineered a charybdotoxin (CTX)-sensitive Kv4.2 channel, which enabled us to obtain the first measurements of Kv4.2 gating currents after blocking K+ conduction with CTX (Dougherty and Covarrubias. 2006J. Gen. Physiol. 128:745-753). Here, we exploited this approach further to investigate the mechanism that links closed-state inactivation to slow Q-immobilization in Kv4 channels. The main observations revealed profound Q-immobilization at steady-state over a range of hyperpolarized voltages (-110 to -75 mV). Depolarization in this range moves