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The identification and characterization of a noncontinuous calmodulin-binding site in noninactivating voltage-dependent KCNQ potassium channels.

Eva Yus-Najera, Irene Santana-Castro, Alvaro Villarroel

J. Biol. Chem., 2002 Aug 9 , 277, 28545-53

We show here that in a yeast two-hybrid assay calmodulin (CaM) interacts with the intracellular C-terminal region of several members of the KCNQ family of potassium channels. CaM co-immunoprecipitates with KCNQ2, KCNQ3, or KCNQ5 subunits better in the absence than in the presence of Ca2+. Moreover, in two-hybrid assays where it is possible to detect interactions with apo-CaM but not with Ca2+-bound calmodulin, we localized the CaM-binding site to a region that is predicted to contain two alpha-helices (A and B). These two helices encompass approximately 85 amino acids, and in KCNQ2 they are separated by a dispensable stretch of approximately 130 amino acids. Within this CaM-binding domain, we found an IQ-like CaM-binding motif in helix A and two overlapping consensus 1-5-10 CaM-binding motifs in helix B. Point mutations in helix A or B were capable of abolishing CaM binding in the two-hybrid assay. Moreover, glutathione S-transferase fusion proteins containing helices A and B were capable of binding to CaM, indicating that the interaction with KCNQ channels is direct. Full-length CaM (both N and C lobes) and a functional EF-1 hand were required for these interactions to occur. These observations suggest that apo-CaM is bound to neuronal KCNQ channels at low resting Ca2+ levels and that this interaction is disturbed when the [Ca2+] is raised. Thus, we propose that CaM acts as a mediator in the Ca2+-dependent modulation of KCNQ channels.