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Heteromultimeric potassium channels formed by members of the Kv2 subfamily.

J T Blaine, A B Ribera

J. Neurosci., 1998 Dec 1 , 18, 9585-93

Four alpha-subunits are thought to coassemble and form a voltage-dependent potassium (Kv) channel. Kv alpha-subunits belong to one of four major subfamilies (Kv1, Kv2, Kv3, Kv4). Within a subfamily up to eight different genetic isotypes exist (e.g., Kv1.1, Kv1.2). Different isotypes within the Kv1 or Kv3 subfamily coassemble. It is not known, however, whether the only two members of the vertebrate Kv2 subfamily identified thus far, Kv2.1 and Kv2.2, heteromultimerize. This might account for the lack of detection of heteromultimeric Kv2 channels in situ despite the coexpression of Kv2.1 and Kv2.2 mRNAs within the same cell. To probe whether Kv2 isotypes can form heteromultimers, we developed a dominant-negative mutant Kv2.2 subunit to act as a molecular poison of Kv2 subunit-containing channels. The dominant-negative Kv2.2 suppresses formation of functional channels when it is coexpressed in oocytes with either wild-type Kv2.2 or Kv2.1 subunits. These results indicate that Kv2.1 and Kv2.2 subunits are capable of heteromultimerization. Thus, in native cells either Kv2.1 and Kv2.2 subunits are targeted at an early stage to different biosynthetic compartments or heteromultimerization otherwise is inhibited.