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Am J Physiol. 1997 Jul;273(1 Pt 2):H208-19.

Mechanism of enhancement of slow delayed rectifier current by extracellular sulfhydryl modification.

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Department of Pharmacology, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, USA.


To explore the role of sulfhydryl (SH) groups in the function of cardiac slow delayed rectifier channels, we tested the effects of extracellular thimerosal (TMS, a hydrophilic SH modifier) on slow delayed rectifier current (IKs) induced by human IsK (hIsK) in oocytes and on the native IKs in canine ventricular myocytes. TMS (25 or 50 microM) had similar effects on the two currents: current amplitude increased, and there was an acceleration of activation and a slowing of deactivation. These effects showed little or no reversal after washout of TMS. The effects did not depend on intracellular Ca release or protein kinase activities but could be suppressed by dithiothreitol pretreatment. According to the current model of transmembrane topology, there is no cystein in the extracellular domain of hIsK. A likely candidate for TMS modification is the SH group on another subunit in oocyte cell membrane that interacts with IsK to form a functional channel. To explore the domain of hIsK involved in the interaction, extracellular serines of hIsK were mutated to cysteines at three locations: S37C (close to the transmembrane domain), S4C (close to the NH2-terminus), and S28C (in between). S37C and S28C mutations did not affect channel properties or hIsK response to TMS. On the other hand, S4C mutation reduced current expression even when S4C cRNA was injected at a quantity 50-fold higher than that of the other three proteins. Importantly, the response to TMS was markedly reduced in S4C compared with the other three proteins. Therefore, the NH2-terminus of hIsK may be involved in hIsK interaction with the SH-bearing subunit, and this interaction modulates slow delayed rectifier channel function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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