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Modulation of potassium channel gating by coexpression of Kv2.1 with regulatory Kv5.1 or Kv6.1 alpha-subunits.

J W Kramer, M A Post, A M Brown, G E Kirsch

Am. J. Physiol., 1998 Jun , 274, C1501-10

We have determined the effects of coexpression of Kv2.1 with electrically silent Kv5.1 or Kv6.1 alpha-subunits in Xenopus oocytes on channel gating. Kv2.1/5.1 selectively accelerated the rate ofinactivation at intermediate potentials (-30 to 0 mV), without affecting the rate at strong depolarization (0 to +40 mV), and markedly accelerated the rate of cumulative inactivation evoked by high-frequency trains of short pulses. Kv5.1 coexpression alsoslowed deactivation of Kv2.1. In contrast, Kv6.1 was much less effective in speeding inactivation at intermediate potentials, had a slowing effect on inactivation at strong depolarizations, and had no effect on cumulative inactivation. Kv6.1, however, had profound effects on activation, including a negative shift of the steady-state activation curve and marked slowing of deactivation tail currents. Support for the notion that the Kv5.1's effects stem from coassembly of alpha-subunits into heteromeric channels was obtained from biochemical evidence of protein-protein interaction and single-channel measurements that showed heterogeneity in unitary conductance. Our results show that Kv5.1 and Kv6.1 function as regulatory alpha-subunits that when coassembled with Kv2.1 can modulate gating in a physiologically relevant manner.