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Science. 1999 Sep 17;285(5435):1929-31.

Acute activation of Maxi-K channels (hSlo) by estradiol binding to the beta subunit.

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Departament de Ciències Experimentals i de la Salut, Universidad Pompeu Fabra, C/Doctor Aiguader 80, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.


Maxi-K channels consist of a pore-forming alpha subunit and a regulatory beta subunit, which confers the channel with a higher Ca(2+) sensitivity. Estradiol bound to the beta subunit and activated the Maxi-K channel (hSlo) only when both alpha and beta subunits were present. This activation was independent of the generation of intracellular signals and could be triggered by estradiol conjugated to a membrane-impenetrable carrier protein. This study documents the direct interaction of a hormone with a voltage-gated channel subunit and provides the molecular mechanism for the modulation of vascular smooth muscle Maxi-K channels by estrogens.

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