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J Biol Chem. 1997 Mar 28;272(13):8774-80.

Modes of regulation of shab K+ channel activity by the Kv8.1 subunit.

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Institut de Pharmacologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, CNRS, 660 route des Lucioles, Sophia Antipolis, 06560 Valbonne, France.


The Kv8.1 subunit is unable to generate K+ channel activity in Xenopus oocytes or in COSm6 cells. The Kv8.1 subunit expressed at high levels acts as a specific suppressor of the activity of Kv2 and Kv3 channels in Xenopus oocytes (Hugnot, J. P., Salinas, M., Lesage, F., Guillemare, E., Weille, J., Heurteaux, C., Mattéi, M. G., and Lazdunski, M. (1996) EMBO J. 15, 3322-3331). At lower levels, Kv8.1 associates with Kv2.1 and Kv2.2 to form hybrid Kv8.1/Kv2 channels, which have new biophysical properties and more particularly modified properties of the inactivation process as compared with homopolymers of Kv2.1 or Kv2.2 channels. The same effects have been seen by coexpressing the Kv8.1 subunit and the Kv2.2 subunit in COSm6 cells. In these cells, Kv8.1 expressed alone remains in intracellular compartments, but it can reach the plasma membrane when it associates with Kv2.2, and it then also forms new types of Kv8.1/Kv2. 2 channels. Present results indicate that Kv8.1 when expressed at low concentrations acts as a modifier of Kv2.1 and Kv2.2 activity, while when expressed at high concentrations in oocytes it completely abolishes Kv2.1, Kv2.2, or Kv3.4 K+ channel activity. The S6 segment of Kv8.1 is atypical and contains the structural elements that modify inactivation of Kv2 channels.

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