Science Signaling Podcast: 30 June 2015

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Sci. Signal.  30 Jun 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 383, pp. pc16
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aac8012

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This Podcast features an interview with Kristopher Kahle, author of a Research Article that appears in the 30 June 2015 issue of Science Signaling, about how the kinase WNK1 helps ensure that the neurotransmitter GABA stimulates rather than inhibits neuronal activity in immature neurons. The neurotransmitter GABA causes immature neurons to depolarize, which provokes firing. In mature neurons, GABA instead causes the cells to hyperpolarize, which suppresses firing. Whether GABA causes depolarization or hyperpolarization depends on the concentration of Cl- inside the neurons. After birth, the concentration of Cl- inside neurons decreases, which switches GABA signaling from being excitatory to being inhibitory. Friedel et al. demonstrate that the kinase WNK1 phosphorylates and inhibits the K+-Cl- cotransporter KCC2 to help immature neurons maintain a high intracellular chloride concentration so that GABA stimulates, rather than inhibits, these neurons.

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