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J Physiol. 1998 Aug 15;511 ( Pt 1):3-14.

Transfer of rapid inactivation and sensitivity to the class III antiarrhythmic drug E-4031 from HERG to M-eag channels.

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Department of Physiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


The gating behaviour and pharmacological sensitivity of HERG are remarkably different from the corresponding properties of M-eag, a structurally similar member of the Eag family of potassium channels. In contrast to HERG, M-eag exhibits no apparent inactivation and little rectification, and is insensitive to the class III antiarrhythmic drug E-4031. We generated chimeric channels of HERG and M-eag sequences and made point mutations to identify the region necessary for rapid inactivation in HERG. This region includes the P region and half of the S6 putative transmembrane domain, including sites not previously associated with inactivation and rectification in HERG. Transfer of a small segment of the HERG polypeptide to M-eag, consisting largely of the P region and part of the S6 transmembrane domain, is sufficient to confer rapid inactivation and E-4031 sensitivity to M-eag. This region differs from the corresponding region in M-eag by only fifteen residues. Previous hypotheses that rapid inactivation of HERG channels occurs by a C-type inactivation mechanism are supported by the parallel effects on rates of HERG inactivation and Shaker C-type inactivation by a series of mutations at two equivalent sites in the polypeptide sequences. In addition to sites homologous to those previously described for C-type inactivation in Shaker, inactivation in HERG involves a residue in the upstream P region not previously associated with C-type inactivation. Although this site is equivalent to one implicated in P-type inactivation in Kv2.1 channels, our data are most consistent with a single, C-type inactivation mechanism.

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