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J Physiol. 2000 Sep 15;527 Pt 3:467-78.

Molecular evidence for a role of Shaw (Kv3) potassium channel subunits in potassium currents of dog atrium.

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Research Center and Department of Medicine, Montreal Heart Institute, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


We previously described an ultrarapid delayed rectifier current in dog atrial myocytes (IKur,d) with properties resembling currents reported for Kv3.1 channels in neural tissue; however, there was no direct molecular evidence for Shaw subfamily (Kv3) subunit expression in the heart. To identify the molecular basis of IKur,d, we cloned a full-length cDNA (dKv3.1) from canine atrium with homology-based reverse transcription (RT)- polymerase chain reaction (PCR) cloning techniques. A 1755 bp full-length cDNA (dKv3.1) was obtained, with 94.2 % homology to rat brain Kv3.1 (rbKv3.1). The deduced amino acid sequence had 99.3 % homology with rbKv3.1. Heterologous expression of dKv3.1 in Xenopus oocytes produced currents with activation voltage dependence, rectification, and activation and deactivation kinetics that strongly resemble native IKur,d. Like IKur,d, dKv3.1 was found to be highly sensitive to extracellular 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) and tetraethylammonium (TEA). RNase protection assays, Western blots and immunohistochemical studies demonstrated the presence of dKv3.1 transcripts and proteins in dog atrial preparations and isolated canine atrial myocytes. Protein corresponding to the Kv1.5 subunit, which can also carry ultrarapid delayed rectifier current, was absent. Unlike neural tissues, which express two splice variants (Kv3.1a and Kv3.1b), canine atrium showed only Kv3.1b transcripts. Whole-cell patch-clamp studies showed that IKur,d is absent in canine ventricular myocytes, and immunohistochemical and Western blot analysis demonstrated the absence of dKv3.1 protein in canine ventricle. We conclude that the Shaw-type channel dKv3.1 is present in dog atrium, but not ventricle, and is the likely molecular basis of canine atrial IKur,d.

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