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Mol Membr Biol. 2003 Apr-Jun;20(2):185-91.

Extracellular conserved cysteine forms an intersubunit disulphide bridge in the KCNK5 (TASK-2) K+ channel without having an essential effect upon activity.

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Centro de Estudios CientĂ­ficos (CECS), Valdivia, Chile.


The functional channel unit of K(+) channels with two pore regions in tandem is thought to be a homodimer and it has been suggested that this dimeric structure occurs by interaction of an extracellular domain, the self-interacting domain. Interaction and functional assembly have been studied in some detail for KCNK1. It is proposed that a disulphide bond between highly conserved C69 residues of the self-interacting domain is formed which is essential for channel activity. We mutated C51, the equivalent residue in the pH-dependent KCNK5, to study its effect on channel function. Western analysis of proteins from cells expressing epitope-tagged KCNK5 and KCNK5-C51S was consistent with reduction-sensitive self-association of monomers dependent upon the presence of C51. Patch-clamp analysis of heterologously expressed KCNK5-C51S, however, revealed it was functional and indistinguishable in rectification properties and pH dependence from the non-mutated channel. The same result was found with KCNK5-C115S. It is concluded that the proposed disulphide bond between cysteine 51 residues of KCNK5 subunits does occur and preserves a dimeric structure in the detergent solubilized complex. Functional assays, on the other hand, suggest that such a disulphide bridge is not essential for correct functional expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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