Inhibition of electrical activity by retroviral infection with kir2.1 transgenes disrupts electrical differentiation of motoneurons

Yone Jung Yoon, Hisashi Kominami, Thomas Trimarchi, Miguel Martin-Caraballo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Network-driven spontaneous electrical activity in the chicken spinal cord regulates a variety of developmental processes including neuronal differentiation and formation of neuromuscular structures. In this study we have examined the effect of chronic inhibition of spinal cord activity on motoneuron survival and differentiation. Early spinal cord activity in chick embryos was blocked using an avian replication-competent retroviral vector RCASBP (B) carrying the inward rectifier potassium channel Kir2.1. Chicken embryos were infected with one of the following constructs: RCASBP(B), RCASBP(B)-Kir2.1, or RCASBP(B)-GFP. Infection of chicken embryos at E2 resulted in widespread expression of the viral protein marker p27 gag throughout the spinal cord. Electrophysiological recordings revealed the presence of functional Kir2.1 channels in RCASBP(B)-Kir2.1 but not in RCASBP(B)-infected embryos. Kir2.1 expression significantly reduced the generation of spontaneous motor movements in chicken embryos developing in ovo. Suppression of spontaneous electrical activity was not due to a reduction in the number of surviving motoneurons or the number of synapses in hindlimb muscle tissue. Disruption of the normal pattern of activity in chicken embryos resulted in a significant downregulation in the functional expression of large-conductance Ca2+-dependent K+ channels. Reduction of spinal cord activity also generates a significant acceleration in the inactivation rate of A-type K+ currents without any significant change in current density. Kir2.1 expression did not affect the expression of voltage-gated Na+ channels or cell capacitance. These experiments demonstrate that chronic inhibition of chicken spinal cord activity causes a significant change in the electrical properties of developing motoneurons.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2971
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
StatePublished - 13 Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Inhibition of electrical activity by retroviral infection with kir2.1 transgenes disrupts electrical differentiation of motoneurons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this