Research ArticleIon Channels

TALK-1 channels control β cell endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ homeostasis

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Sci. Signal.  19 Sep 2017:
Vol. 10, Issue 497, eaan2883
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aan2883

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TALKing about K+, Ca2+, and ER stress

Insulin secretion is triggered upon depolarization of β cells, which activates voltage-gated Ca2+ channels in the plasma membrane. Ca2+ that enters the β cells is taken up by the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and released near Ca2+-activated K+ channels in the plasma membrane that repolarize β cells. Vierra et al. showed that TALK-1 channels provided the K+ influx into the ER that counterbalanced Ca2+ release from the ER in mouse and human β cells. ER Ca2+ content is reduced in diabetic β cells, which can result in ER stress and further accentuate β cell dysfunction. The authors found that mRNA markers of ER stress were decreased in islets from TALK-1 knockout mice fed a high-fat diet and suggest that targeting TALK-1 activity may suppress ER stress and improve β cell ER Ca2+ handling in diabetes.