Paukert, M., Sidi, S., Russell, C., Siba, M., Wilson, S.W., Nicolson, T., and Grunder, S. (2004) A family of acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) from the zebrafish: Widespread expression in the central nervous system suggests a conserved role in neuronal communication. The Journal of biological chemistry. 279(18):18783-18791.
Acid-sensing ion channels are excitatory receptors for extracellular H+. Proposed functions include synaptic transmission, peripheral perception of pain, and mechanosensation. Despite the physiological importance of these functions, the precise role of ASICs has not yet been established. In order to increase our understanding of the physiological role and basic structure-function relationships of ASICs, we report here the cloning of six new ASICs from the zebrafish. zASICs possess the basic functional properties of mammalian ASICs: activation by extracellular H+, Na+ selectivity and block by micromolar concentrations of amiloride. The zasic genes are broadly expressed in the central nervous system, whereas expression in the peripheral nervous system is scarce. This pattern suggests a predominat role for zASICs in neuronal communication. Our results suggest a conserved function for receptors of extracellular H+ in the central nervous system of vertebrates.