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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Feb 3;101(5):1285-90. Epub 2004 Jan 26.

Kv1.3 potassium channels are localized in the immunological synapse formed between cytotoxic and target cells.

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Department of Biophysics and Cell Biology, Medical and Health Science Center, Research Centre for Molecular Medicine and Cell Biophysics Research Group of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, University of Debrecen, Debrecen, Hungary.


Membrane proteins of cytotoxic T cells specifically reorganize to form an immunological synapse (IS) on interaction with their specific target. In this paper, we investigated the redistribution of Kv1.3 channels, which are the dominant voltage-gated potassium channels, in the plasma membrane of allogen-activated human cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) on interacting with their specific target cells. Kv1.3 channels bearing a FLAG epitope were expressed in the CTLs and the cell-surface distribution of fluorescently labeled ion channels was determined from confocal laser-scanning microscopy images. FLAG epitope-tagged Kv1.3 channels showed a patchy distribution in CTLs not engaged with target cells, whereas the channels were accumulated in the IS formed between CTLs and specific target lymphocytes. Localization of Kv1.3 channels in the IS might open an unrevealed possibility in the regulation of ion channel activity by signaling molecules accumulated in the IS.

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