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Complex N-Glycans Influence the Spatial Arrangement of Voltage Gated Potassium Channels in Membranes of Neuronal-Derived Cells.

M Kristen Hall, Douglas A Weidner, Michael A J Edwards, Ruth A Schwalbe

PLoS ONE, 2015 , 10, e0137138

The intrinsic electrical properties of a neuron depend on expression of voltage gated potassium (Kv) channel isoforms, as well as their distribution and density in the plasma membrane. Recently, we showed that N-glycosylation site occupancy of Kv3.1b modulated its placement in the cell body and neurites of a neuronal-derived cell line, B35 neuroblastoma cells. To extrapolate this mechanism to other N-glycosylated Kv channels, we evaluated the impact of N-glycosylation occupancy of Kv3.1a and Kv1.1 channels. Western blots revealed that wild type Kv3.1a and Kv1.1 α-subunits had complex and oligomannose N-glycans, respectively, and that abolishment of the N-glycosylation site(s) generated Kv proteins without N-glycans. Total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy images revealed that N-glycans of Kv3.1a contributed to its placement in the cell membrane while N-glycans had no effect on the distribution of Kv1.1. Based on particle analysis of EGFP-Kv proteins in the adhered membrane, glycosylated forms of Kv3.1a, Kv1.1, and Kv3.1b had differences in the number, size or density of Kv protein clusters in the cell membrane of neurites and cell body of B35 cells. Differences were also observed between the unglycosylated forms of the Kv proteins. Cell dissociation assays revealed that cell-cell adhesion was increased by the presence of complex N-glycans of Kv3.1a, like Kv3.1b, whereas cell adhesion was similar in the oligomannose and unglycosylated Kv1.1 subunit containing B35 cells. Our findings provide direct evidence that N-glycans of Kv3.1 splice variants contribute to the placement of these glycoproteins in the plasma membrane of neuronal-derived cells while those of Kv1.1 were absent. Further when the cell membrane distribution of the Kv channel was modified by N-glycans then the cell-cell adhesion properties were altered. Our study demonstrates that N-glycosylation of Kv3.1a, like Kv3.1b, provides a mechanism for the distribution of these proteins to the cell body and outgrowths and thereby can generate different voltage-dependent conductances in these membranes.