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Calmodulin mediates calcium-dependent activation of the intermediate conductance KCa channel, IKCa1.

C M Fanger, S Ghanshani, N J Logsdon, H Rauer, K Kálmán, J Zhou, K Beckingham, K G Chandy, M D Cahalan, J Aiyar

J. Biol. Chem., 1999 Feb 26 , 274, 5746-54

Small and intermediate conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channels play a crucial role in hyperpolarizing the membrane potential of excitable and nonexcitable cells. These channels are exquisitely sensitive to cytoplasmic Ca2+, yet their protein-coding regions do not contain consensus Ca2+-binding motifs. We investigated the involvement of an accessory protein in the Ca2+-dependent gating of hIKCa1, a human intermediate conductance channel expressed in peripheral tissues. Cal- modulin was found to interact strongly with the cytoplasmic carboxyl (C)-tail of hIKCa1 in a yeast two-hybrid system. Deletion analyses defined a requirement for the first 62 amino acids of the C-tail, and the binding of calmodulin to this region did not require Ca2+. The C-tail of hSKCa3, a human neuronal small conductance channel, also bound calmodulin, whereas that of a voltage-gated K+ channel, mKv1.3, did not. Calmodulin co-precipitated with the channel in cell lines transfected with hIKCa1, but not with mKv1. 3-transfected lines. A mutant calmodulin, defective in Ca2+ sensing but retaining binding to the channel, dramatically reduced current amplitudes when co-expressed with hIKCa1 in mammalian cells. Co-expression with varying amounts of wild-type and mutant calmodulin resulted in a dominant-negative suppression of current, consistent with four calmodulin molecules being associated with the channel. Taken together, our results suggest that Ca2+-calmodulin-induced conformational changes in all four subunits are necessary for the channel to open.