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J Biol Chem. 1996 Mar 22;271(12):7084-9.

Selective interaction of voltage-gated K+ channel beta-subunits with alpha-subunits.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York 11794-5215, USA.


To begin to study the molecular bases that determine the selective interaction of the beta-subunits of voltage-gated K+ channels with alpha-subunits observed in situ, we have expressed these polypeptides in transfected mammalian cells. Analysis of the specificity of alpha/bet a-subunit interaction indicates that both the Kvbeta1 and Kvbeta2 beta-subunits display robust and selective interaction with the five members of the Shaker-related (Kv1) alpha-subunit subfamily tested. The interaction of these beta-subunits with Kv1 alpha-subunits does not require the beta-subunit N-terminal domains. Thus, the previously observed failure of N-terminal mutants of Kv beta1 to modulate inactivation kinetics of Kv1 family members is not simply due to a lack of subunit interaction. Interaction of these beta-subunits with members of two other subfamilies (Shab- and Shaw-related) could not be detected. Somewhat surprisingly, a member of the Shal-related subfamily was found to interact with beta-subunits; however, this interaction had biochemical characteristics distinct from the beta-subunit interaction with Kv1 family members. In all cases, Kvbeta1 and Kvbeta2 exhibited indistinguishable alpha-subunit selectivity. These studies point to a selective interaction between K+ channel alpha- and beta-subunits mediated through conserved domains in the respective subunits.

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