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PLoS One. 2013 Aug 20;8(8):e71809. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0071809. eCollection 2013.

Effects of KCNQ2 gene truncation on M-type Kv7 potassium currents.

Author information

1
Wolfson Centre for Age Related Disease, King's College London, London, United Kingdom.

Abstract

The KCNQ2 gene product, Kv7.2, is a subunit of the M-channel, a low-threshold voltage-gated K(+) channel that regulates mammalian and human neuronal excitability. Spontaneous mutations one of the KCNQ2 genes cause disorders of neural excitability such as Benign Familial Neonatal Seizures. However there appear to be no reports in which both human KCNQ2 genes are mutated. We therefore asked what happens to M-channel function when both KCNQ2 genes are disrupted. We addressed this using sympathetic neurons isolated from mice in which the KCNQ2 gene was truncated at a position corresponding to the second transmembrane domain of the Kv7.2 protein. Since homozygote KCNQ2-/- mice die postnatally, experiments were largely restricted to neurons from late embryos. Quantitative PCR revealed an absence of KCNQ2 mRNA in ganglia from KCNQ2-/- embryos but 100-120% increase of KCNQ3 and KCNQ5 mRNAs; KCNQ2+/- ganglia showed ∼30% less KCNQ2 mRNA than wild-type (+/+) ganglia but 40-50% more KCNQ3 and KCNQ5 mRNA. Neurons from KCNQ2-/- embryos showed a complete absence of M-current, even after applying the Kv7 channel enhancer, retigabine. Neurons from heterozygote KCNQ2+/- embryos had ∼60% reduced M-current. In contrast, M-currents in neurons from adult KCNQ2+/- mice were no smaller than those in neurons from wild-type mice. Measurements of tetraethylammonium block did not indicate an increased expression of Kv7.5-containing subunits, implying a compensatory increase in Kv7.2 expression from the remaining KCNQ2 gene. We conclude that mouse embryonic M-channels have an absolute requirement for Kv7.2 subunits for functionality, that the reduced M-channel activity in heterozygote KCNQ2+/- mouse embryos results primarily from a gene-dosage effect, and that there is a compensatory increase in Kv7.2 expression in adult mice.

PMID:
23977150
PMCID:
PMC3748097
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0071809
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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