Structure and activity of the acid-sensing ion channels

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

External Institution(s)

  • Ohio State University


Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C699-C710
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number7
StatusPublished - Oct 1 2012


The acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) are a family of proton-sensing channels expressed throughout the nervous system. Their activity is linked to a variety of complex behaviors including fear, anxiety, pain, depression, learning, and memory. ASICs have also been implicated in neuronal degeneration accompanying ischemia and multiple sclerosis. As a whole, ASICs represent novel therapeutic targets for several clinically important disorders. An understanding of the correlation between ASIC structure and function will help to elucidate their mechanism of action and identify potential therapeutics that specifically target these ion channels. Despite the seemingly simple nature of proton binding, multiple studies have shown that proton-dependent gating of ASICs is quite complex, leading to activation and desensitization through distinct structural components. This review will focus on the structural aspects of ASIC gating in response to both protons and the newly discovered activators GMQ and MitTx. ASIC modulatory compounds and their action on proton-dependent gating will also be discussed. This review is dedicated to the memory of Dale Benos, who made a substantial contribution to our understanding of ASIC activity.

    Research areas

  • Acidic pocket, Acidosis, Agmatine, Asics, Channel gating, Ischemia, Neuropeptide, Pore domain, Proton sensing, Psalmotoxin, Spermine, pH

Citation formats


Sherwood, T. W., Frey, E. N., & Askwith, C. C. (2012). Structure and activity of the acid-sensing ion channels. American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology, 303(7), C699-C710.


Sherwood, TW, Frey, EN & Askwith, CC 2012, 'Structure and activity of the acid-sensing ion channels', American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology, vol. 303, no. 7, pp. C699-C710.