Dystroglycan and Kir4.1 coclustering in retinal Müller glia is regulated by laminin-1 and requires the PDZ-ligand domain of Kir4.1


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr H. Moukhles, Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, University of British Columbia, 2177 Westbrook Mall, Vancouver, V6T 1Z3, Canada.
E-mail: hakima.moukhles@ubc.ca


Inwardly rectifying potassium (Kir) channels in Müller glia play a critical role in the spatial buffering of potassium ions that accumulate during retinal activity. To this end, Kir channels show a polarized subcellular distribution with the predominant channel subunit in Müller glia, Kir4.1, clustered in the endfeet of these cells at the inner limiting membrane. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying their distribution have yet to be identified. Here, we show that laminin, agrin and α-dystroglycan (DG) codistribute with Kir4.1 at the inner limiting membrane in the retina and that laminin-1 induces the clustering of α-DG, syntrophin and Kir4.1 in Müller cell cultures. In addition, we found that α-DG clusters were enriched for agrin and sought to investigate the role of agrin in their formation using recombinant C-agrins. Both C-agrin 4,8 and C-agrin 0,0 failed to induce α-DG clustering and neither of them potentiated the α-DG clustering induced by laminin-1. Finally, our data reveal that deletion of the PDZ-ligand domain of Kir4.1 prevents their laminin-induced clustering. These findings indicate that both laminin-1 and α-DG are involved in the distribution of Kir4.1 to specific Müller cell membrane domains and that this process occurs via a PDZ-domain-mediated interaction. Thus, in the basal lamina laminin is an essential regulator involved in clearing excess potassium released during neuronal activity, thereby contributing to the maintenance of normal synaptic transmission in the retina.