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J Biol Chem. 1992 Oct 15;267(29):20971-9.

The Shaw-related potassium channel gene, Kv3.1, on human chromosome 11, encodes the type l K+ channel in T cells.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of California, Irvine 92715.


T lymphocytes exhibit three distinct types of voltage-gated K+ channels, n, n', and l, that are distributed in the T cell lineage according to subset, as well as the cells' activation and developmental status. Type l K+ channels are found sparingly in cytotoxic T cells from normal mice and abundantly in a specific T cell subset (CD4- CD8- Thy1+) from mice with autoimmune disease. Here, we show that the mouse Kv3.1 gene, when expressed in Xenopus oocytes, encodes a channel with properties remarkably similar to those of the l-type channel. Kv3.1 transcripts were found in T cells isolated from the lymph nodes of MRL-lpr mice with systemic lupus erythematosus and in a human lymphoma cell line that also expresses the l channel phenotype. By these criteria, we conclude that Kv3.1 encodes the voltage-gated type l K+ channel in lymphocytes. The Kv3.1 gene maps to human chromosome 11; the related Kv1.1 and Kv3.2 genes are localized on human chromosome 12, while the IsK gene maps to human chromosome 21.

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