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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Mar 23;101(12):4053-8. Epub 2004 Mar 8.

The AHNAKs are a class of giant propeller-like proteins that associate with calcium channel proteins of cardiomyocytes and other cells.

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Departments of Pathology and Immunobiology, Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, 295 Congress Avenue, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


To explore the function of the giant AHNAK molecule, first described in 1992 [Shtivelman, E., Cohen, F. E. & Bishop, J. M. (1992) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89, 5472-5476], we created AHNAK null mice by homologous recombination. Homozygous knockouts showed no obvious phenotype, but revealed instead a second AHNAK-like molecule, provisionally designated AHNAK2. Like the original AHNAK, AHNAK2 is a 600-kDa protein composed of a large number of highly conserved repeat segments. Structural predictions suggest that the repeat segments of both AHNAKs may have as their basic framework a series of linked, antiparallel beta-strands similar to those found in beta-propeller proteins. Both AHNAKs appear to localize to Z-band regions of mouse cardiomyocytes and cosediment with membrane vesicles containing the dihydropyridine receptor, which is consistent with earlier reports that the AHNAKs are linked to L-type calcium channels and can be phosphorylated by protein kinase A. The localization of the AHNAKs in close proximity to transverse tubule membranes and Z-band regions of cardiac sarcomeres raise the possibility that they might be involved in regulating excitation/contraction coupling of cardiomyocytes, but other studies indicate that the association of AHNAKs with calcium channel proteins is more widespread. AHNAK2 is predicted to have a PDZ domain within its N-terminal, nonrepeating domain, which may mediate these interactions.

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