The interaction between delayed rectifier channel alpha-subunits does not involve hetero-tetramer formation
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We have previously reported a physiologically relevant interaction between KCNQ1 (Q1) and KCNH2 (H2). While the H2 C-terminus has been suggested to play a role, so far, no more detailed information regarding the interaction site is available. The methods used in the study are cell culture, PCR for mutagenesis, patch clamp for ion current recordings, co-immunoprecipitation for determination of protein interaction. Co-expression of Q1 and H2 resulted in an increase of I H2 (tails after +50 mV; Q1 + H2, 36 ± 6 pA/pF; H2, 14 ± 2 pA/pF; n = 10; 12; P < 0.05). Upon expressing a non-conductive (dominant-negative) Q1-pore mutation (dnQ1), there was still an increase in I H2 (tails after +50 mV; H2 + dnQ1, 24 ± 4 pA/pF; n = 10; P < 0.05) making the pore region unlikely as an interaction site. Experiments using the KCNH2-pore blocking agent quinidine supported these findings. If Q1 and H2 formed hetero-tetramers, steric changes within the pore should change the quinidine half-inhibitory concentrations (IC50). However, I H2 sensitivity did not significantly change in the presence or absence of Q1 (IC50 341 ± 63 vs. 611 ± 293 nmol/L, respectively, P = n.s.), providing further evidence that the pore is not a likely H2-Q1 interaction site. To obtain further insights into the role of intra-cytoplasmic structures, we used both C- and N-terminally truncated mutant H2 proteins. Both H2 mutants co-immunoprecipitated with Q1, suggesting no specific role of C- or N-termini. Accordingly, rather than these, the transmembrane domains of the α-subunits appear relevant for the interaction. Our results largely exclude the formation of hetero-tetramers between H2 and Q1 comprising the pore region or H2 C- or N-termini.
KeywordsHetero-tetramer KCNQ1 KCNH2 protein interaction
The expert technical assistance of Sabine Harenkamp and Christin Lößl is gratefully acknowledged.
Sources of funding
Dr. Ehrlich received support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (EH 201/1).
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