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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 May 21;110(21):8732-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1300684110. Epub 2013 May 6.

Dynamic subunit stoichiometry confers a progressive continuum of pharmacological sensitivity by KCNQ potassium channels.

Author information

1
The Solomon H Snyder Department of Neuroscience, High Throughput Biology Center and Johns Hopkins Ion Channel Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.

Abstract

Voltage-gated KCNQ1 (Kv7.1) potassium channels are expressed abundantly in heart but they are also found in multiple other tissues. Differential coassembly with single transmembrane KCNE beta subunits in different cell types gives rise to a variety of biophysical properties, hence endowing distinct physiological roles for KCNQ1-KCNEx complexes. Mutations in either KCNQ1 or KCNE1 genes result in diseases in brain, heart, and the respiratory system. In addition to complexities arising from existence of five KCNE subunits, KCNE1 to KCNE5, recent studies in heterologous systems suggest unorthodox stoichiometric dynamics in subunit assembly is dependent on KCNE expression levels. The resultant KCNQ1-KCNE channel complexes may have a range of zero to two or even up to four KCNE subunits coassembling per KCNQ1 tetramer. These findings underscore the need to assess the selectivity of small-molecule KCNQ1 modulators on these different assemblies. Here we report a unique small-molecule gating modulator, ML277, that potentiates both homomultimeric KCNQ1 channels and unsaturated heteromultimeric (KCNQ1)4(KCNE1)n (n < 4) channels. Progressive increase of KCNE1 or KCNE3 expression reduces efficacy of ML277 and eventually abolishes ML277-mediated augmentation. In cardiomyocytes, the slowly activating delayed rectifier potassium current, or IKs, is believed to be a heteromultimeric combination of KCNQ1 and KCNE1, but it is not entirely clear whether IKs is mediated by KCNE-saturated KCNQ1 channels or by channels with intermediate stoichiometries. We found ML277 effectively augments IKs current of cultured human cardiomyocytes and shortens action potential duration. These data indicate that unsaturated heteromultimeric (KCNQ1)4(KCNE1)n channels are present as components of IKs and are pharmacologically distinct from KCNE-saturated KCNQ1-KCNE1 channels.

KEYWORDS:

cardiac physiology; drug; long QT; pharmacology

PMID:
23650380
PMCID:
PMC3666726
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1300684110
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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