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The voltage dependence of hEag currents is not determined solely by membrane-spanning domains.

Eva Lörinczi, Joanna Napp, Constanza Contreras-Jurado, Luis A Pardo, Walter Stühmer

Eur. Biophys. J., 2009 Mar , 38, 279-84

The ether-à-go-go potassium channels hEag1 and hEag2 are highly homologous. Even though both possess identical voltage-sensing domain S4, the channels act differently in response to voltage. Therefore we asked whether transmembrane domains other than the voltage sensor could contribute to the voltage-dependent behaviour of these potassium channels. For this chimaeras were created, in which each single transmembrane domain of hEag1 was replaced by the corresponding segment of hEag2. The voltage-dependent properties of the chimaeras were analysed after expression in Xenopus laevis oocytes using the two-electrode voltage-clamp method. By this we found, that only the mutations in transmembrane domains S5 and S6 are able to change the voltage sensitivity of hEag1 by shifting the half-activation potential (V(50)) to values intermediate between the two wild types. Moreover, the presence of Mg2+ has strong effects on the voltage sensitivity of hEag2 shifting V(50) by more than 50 mV to more positive values. Interestingly, despite the identical binding site Mg2+ showed only little effects on hEag1 or the chimaeras. Altogether, our data suggest that not only transmembrane spanning regions, but also non-membrane spanning regions are responsible for differences in the behaviour of the hEag1 and hEag2 potassium channels.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18379771