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J Biol Chem. 1998 May 8;273(19):11745-51.

Cloning and expression of a novel K+ channel regulatory protein, KChAP.

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  • 1Rammelkamp Center of Research, MetroHealth Campus, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44109-1998, USA.


Voltage-gated K+ (Kv) channels are important in the physiology of both excitable and nonexcitable cells. The diversity in Kv currents is reflected in multiple Kv channel genes whose products may assemble as multisubunit heteromeric complexes. Given the fundamental importance and diversity of Kv channels, surprisingly little is known regarding the cellular mechanisms regulating their synthesis, assembly, and metabolism. To begin to dissect these processes, we have used the yeast two-hybrid system to identify cytoplasmic regulatory molecules that interact with Kv channel proteins. Here we report the cloning of a novel gene encoding a Kv channel binding protein (KChAP, for K+ channel-associated protein), which modulates the expression of Kv2 channels in heterologous expression system assays. KChAP interacts with the N termini of Kvalpha2 subunits, as well as the N termini of Kvalpha1 and the C termini of Kvbeta subunits. Kv2.1 and KChAP were coimmunoprecipitated from in vitro translation reactions supporting a direct interaction between the two proteins. The amplitudes of Kv2. 1 and Kv2.2 currents are enhanced dramatically in Xenopus oocytes coexpressing KChAP, but channel kinetics and gating are unaffected. Although KChAP binds to Kv1.5, it has no effect on Kv1.5 currents. We suggest that KChAP may act as a novel type of chaperone protein to facilitate the cell surface expression of Kv2 channels.

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