Inhibitory regulation of acid-sensing ion channel 3 by zinc

Neuroscience. 2010 Aug 25;169(2):574-83. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2010.05.043. Epub 2010 May 24.


Acid-sensing ion channel 3 (ASIC3) is a proton-gated, voltage-insensitive Na(+) channel that is expressed primarily in peripheral sensory neurons and plays an important role in pain perception, particularly as a pH sensor following cardiac ischemia. We previously reported that ASIC3 currents are not affected by zinc at nanomolar concentrations. In this study, we examined the potential role of micromolar zinc in the regulation of ASIC3. In CHO cells expressing ASIC3, we found that ASIC3 currents triggered by dropping the pH from 7.4 to 6.0 were inhibited by pretreatment with zinc in a concentration-dependent manner; the half-maximum inhibitory concentration of zinc was 61 muM. ASIC currents activated by a relatively small drop in pH from 7.4 to 7.2 or 7.0 were also subject to inhibition by zinc. The inhibition was fast and pH independent, and occurred within a relatively narrow range of zinc concentrations between 30 and 300 muM. Further, increasing extracellular Ca(2+) concentrations from 2 to 10 mM failed to affect inhibition of ASIC3 currents by zinc. Experimentally elevating intracellular zinc levels did not affect the inhibition of ASIC3 currents by equal concentrations of extracellular zinc, and modification of cysteine or histidine residues had no effect on the inhibition of ASIC3 currents by zinc. These collective results suggest that zinc is an important regulator of ASIC3 at physiological concentrations, that zinc inhibits ASIC3 in a pH- and Ca(2+)-independent manner, and that inhibition of ASIC3 currents is dependent upon the interaction of zinc with extracellular domain(s) of ASIC3.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acid Sensing Ion Channels
  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Cysteine / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism
  • Histidine / metabolism
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Protein Binding
  • Rats
  • Sodium Channels / biosynthesis*
  • Zinc / pharmacology
  • Zinc / physiology*


  • ASIC3 protein, rat
  • Acid Sensing Ion Channels
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Sodium Channels
  • Histidine
  • Zinc
  • Cysteine
  • Calcium