Acid-sensing (proton-gated) ion channels (ASICs) (version 2019.4) in the IUPHAR/BPS Guide to Pharmacology Database
Acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs, nomenclature as agreed by NC-IUPHAR ) are members of a Na+ channel superfamily that includes the epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC), the FMRF-amide activated channel (FaNaC) of invertebrates, the degenerins (DEG) of Caenorhabitis elegans, channels in Drosophila melanogaster and 'orphan' channels that include BLINaC  and INaC  that have also been named BASICs, for bile acid-activated ion channels . ASIC subunits contain two TM domains and assemble as homo- or hetero-trimers [34, 31, 5] to form proton-gated, voltage-insensitive, Na+ permeable, channels (reviewed in [33, 57]). Splice variants of ASIC1 [termed ASIC1a (ASIC, ASICα, BNaC2α) , ASIC1b (ASICβ, BNaC2β)  and ASIC1b2 (ASICβ2) ; note that ASIC1a is also permeable to Ca2+] and ASIC2 [termed ASIC2a (MDEG1, BNaC1α, BNC1α) [45, 56, 30] and ASIC2b (MDEG2, BNaC1β) ] have been cloned. Unlike ASIC2a (listed in table), heterologous expression of ASIC2b alone does not support H+-gated currents. A third member, ASIC3 (DRASIC, TNaC1) , has been identified. A fourth mammalian member of the family (ASIC4/SPASIC) does not support a proton-gated channel in heterologous expression systems and is reported to downregulate the expression of ASIC1a and ASIC3 [1, 32, 24, 39]. ASIC channels are primarily expressed in central and peripheral neurons including nociceptors where they participate in neuronal sensitivity to acidosis. They have also been detected in taste receptor cells (ASIC1-3), photoreceptors and retinal cells (ASIC1-3), cochlear hair cells (ASIC1b), testis (hASIC3), pituitary gland (ASIC4), lung epithelial cells (ASIC1a and -3), urothelial cells, adipose cells (ASIC3), vascular smooth muscle cells (ASIC1-3), immune cells (ASIC1,-3 and -4) and bone (ASIC1-3). A neurotransmitter-like function of protons has been suggested, involving postsynaptically located ASICs of the CNS in functions such as learning and fear perception [25, 36, 63], responses to focal ischemia  and to axonal degeneration in autoimmune inflammation in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis , as well as seizures  and pain [19, 20, 10, 22]. Heterologously expressed heteromultimers form ion channels with differences in kinetics, ion selectivity, pH- sensitivity and sensitivity to blockers that resemble some of the native proton activated currents recorded from neurones [40, 3, 28, 8].
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