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Channels (Austin). 2007 Mar-Apr;1(2):80-91. Epub 2007 Feb 12.

An NH2-terminal multi-basic RKR motif is required for the ATP-dependent regulation of hIK1.

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Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.


We previously demonstrated that the ATP/PKA-dependent activation of the human intermediate conductance, Ca2+-activated K+ channel, hIK1, is dependent upon a C-terminal motif. The NH2-terminus of hIK1 contains a multi-basic 13RRRKR17 motif, known to be important in the trafficking and function of ion channels. While individual mutations within this domain have no effect on channel function, the triple mutation (15RKR17/AAA), as well as additional double mutations, result in a near complete loss of functional channels, as assessed by whole-cell patch-clamp. However, cell-surface immunoprecipitation studies confirmed expression of these mutated channels at the plasma membrane. To elucidate the functional consequences of the (15)RKR(17)/AAA mutation we performed inside-out patch clamp recordings where we observed no difference in Ca2+ affinity between the wild-type and mutated channels. However, in contrast to wild-type hIK1, channels expressing the 15RKR17/AAA mutation exhibited rundown, which could not be reversed by the addition of ATP. Wild-type hIK1 channel activity was reduced by alkaline phosphatase both in the presence and absence of ATP, indicative of a phosphorylation event, whereas the 15RKR17/AAA mutation eliminated this effect of alkaline phosphatase. Further, single channel analysis demonstrated that the 15RKR17/AAA mutation resulted in a four-fold lower channel open probability (P(o)), in the presence of saturating Ca2+ and ATP, compared to wild-type hIK1. In conclusion, these results represent the first demonstration for a role of the NH2-terminus in the second messenger-dependent regulation of hIK1 and, in combination with our previous findings, suggest that this regulation is dependent upon a close NH2/C-terminal association.

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