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J Comp Neurol. 2008 Oct 10;510(5):508-24. doi: 10.1002/cne.21804.

Localization of Kv2.2 protein in Xenopus laevis embryos and tadpoles.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Colorado Denver and Health Sciences Center, Aurora, Colorado 80045, USA.


Voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channels sculpt neuronal excitability and play important developmental roles. Kv channels consist of pore-forming alpha- and auxiliary subunits. For many Kv alpha-subunits, existing mRNA probes and antibodies have allowed analysis of expression patterns, typically during adult stages. Here, we focus on the Kv2.2 alpha-subunit, for which the mRNA shows broad expression in the embryo and adult. A lack of suitable antibodies, however, has hindered detailed analysis of Kv2.2 protein localization, especially during development. We developed an antibody that specifically recognizes Kv2.2 protein in Xenopus laevis, a vertebrate well suited for study of early developmental stages. The Kv2.2 antibody recognized heterologously expressed Kv2.2 but not the closely related Kv2.1 protein. Immunodetection of the protein showed its presence at St 32 in ventrolateral regions of the hindbrain and spinal cord. At later stages, several sensory tissues (retina, otic, and olfactory epithelia) also expressed Kv2.2 protein. As development progressed in the central nervous system, Kv2.2 protein distribution expanded in close association with the cytoskeletal marker alpha-tubulin, consistent with growth of neuronal tracts. We analyzed the subcellular distribution of Kv2.2 protein within single cultured neurons. In addition to a surface membrane presence, Kv2.2 protein also resided intracellularly closely associated with alpha-tubulin, as in vivo. Furthermore, in contrast to Kv2.1, Kv2.2 protein localized to long, axonal-like processes, consistent with its in vivo location in tracts. Despite their primary sequence similarity, the contrasting localizations of Kv2.1 and Kv2.2 support different roles for the two during development and neuronal signaling.

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