Inactivation and anion selectivity of volume-regulated VRAC channels depend on carboxy-terminal residues of the first extracellular loop


  • F. Ullrich
  • S.M. Reincke
  • F.K. Voss
  • T. Stauber
  • T.J. Jentsch


  • Journal of Biological Chemistry


  • J Biol Chem 291 (33): 17040-17048


  • Canonical volume-regulated anion channels (VRACs) are crucial for cell volume regulation and have many other important roles including tumor drug resistance and release of neurotransmitters. Although VRAC-mediated swelling-activated chloride currents (ICl,vol) have been studied for decades, exploration of the structure-function relationship of VRAC has become possible only after the recent discovery that VRACs are formed by differently composed heteromers of LRRC8 proteins. Inactivation of ICl,vol at positive potentials, a typical hallmark of VRACs, strongly varies between native cell types. Exploiting the large differences in inactivation between different LRRC8 heteromers, we now used chimeras assembled from isoforms LRRC8C and LRRC8E to uncover a highly conserved extracellular region preceding the second LRRC8 transmembrane domain as a major determinant of ICl,vol inactivation. Point mutations identified two amino-acids (Lys98 and Asp100 in LRRC8A and equivalent residues in LRRC8C and -E) which upon charge reversal strongly altered the kinetics and voltage-dependence of inactivation. Importantly, charge reversal at the first position also reduced the iodide>chloride permeability of ICl,vol. This change in selectivity was stronger when both the obligatory LRRC8A subunit and the other co-expressed isoform (LRR8C or -E) carried such mutations. Hence the carboxy-terminal part of the first extracellular loop not only determines VRAC inactivation, but might also participate in forming its outer pore. Inactivation of VRACs may involve a closure of the extracellular mouth of the permeation pathway.