The ATP-sensitive potassium channel, K(ATP) channel, a functional complex of the sulfonylurea receptor 1, SUR1, and an inward rectifier potassium channel subunit, Kir6.2, regulates insulin secretion in the pancreas. Mutations in both the Kir6.2 and SUR1 genes are associated with persistent hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia of infancy (PHHI), a disorder of pancreatic beta-cell function characterized by excess insulin secretion and hypoglycemia. We have studied the functional properties of novel SUR1 mutations identified in PHHI patients, including H125Q, N188S, F591L, T1139M, R1215Q, G1382S, and R1394H. R1394H and deltaF1388 SUR1, a previously identified PHHI mutation, resulted in no functional channels when coexpressed with Kir6.2 in COS cells, while H125Q, N188S, F591L, T1139M, R1215Q, and G1382S SUR1 generated functional channels in the absence of ATP. With the exception of N188S and H125Q, all mutants had reduced response to stimulation by MgADP. These results indicate that lack of, or reduction of, K(ATP) channel sensitivity to MgADP is a common molecular defect associated with the disease. The mutant channels also showed varied response to activation by the potassium channel opener diazoxide. Because these mutations are distributed throughout the molecule, our data have new implications for structure-function relationships of the K(ATP) channel, suggesting that structural elements in SUR1 outside of the two nucleotide-binding folds are also important in regulating channel activity.

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