A regulatory domain in the K2P2.1 (TREK-1) carboxyl-terminal allows for channel activation by monoterpenes

Eden Arazi, Galit Blecher, Noam Zilberberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Potassium K2P (‘leak’) channels conduct current across the entire physiological voltage range and carry leak or ‘background’ currents that are, in part, time- and voltage-independent. K2P2.1 channels (i.e., TREK-1, KCNK2) are highly expressed in excitable tissues, where they play a key role in the cellular mechanisms of neuroprotection, anesthesia, pain perception, and depression. Here, we report for the first time that human K2P2.1 channel activity is regulated by monoterpenes (MTs). We found that cyclic, aromatic monoterpenes containing a phenol moiety, such as carvacrol, thymol and 4-IPP had the most profound effect on current flowing through the channel (up to a 6-fold increase). By performing sequential truncation of the carboxyl-terminal domain of the channel and testing the activity of several channel regulators, we identified two distinct regulatory domains within this portion of the protein. One domain, as previously reported, was needed for regulation by arachidonic acid, anionic phospholipids, and temperature changes. Within a second domain, a triple arginine residue motif (R344–346), an apparent PIP2-binding site, was found to be essential for regulation by holding potential changes and important for regulation by monoterpenes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103496
JournalMolecular and Cellular Neurosciences
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • Carboxyl-terminal
  • Carvacrol
  • K channel
  • KCNK2
  • Monoterpenes
  • PIP
  • Potassium leak channel
  • TREK-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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