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The roles of intracellular regions in the activation of voltage-dependent potassium channels.

D Wray

Eur. Biophys. J., 2004 May , 33, 194-200

The involvement of the transmembrane regions S2, S3 and S4 in the activation of potassium channels by depolarization has been well clarified. However, a role of the intracellular regions in channel function is emerging. Here we review recent evidence for the roles of intracellular regions in the functioning of members of two families of channels. The Kv2.1 potassium channel, a member of the voltage activated Kv family, has long intracellular regions. By mutagenesis studies and expression in oocytes, we identify residues in both the N- and C-terminal regions that contribute to determining activation kinetics of this channel. It seems that the C-terminus wraps around the N-terminus and interacts with it functionally. The voltage-activated ether-a-go-go (eag) channels also have long intracellular regions. Despite considerable homology, eag1 and eag2 channels display different activation kinetics. By making chimeras between these channels and again expressing in oocytes, we show that residues in both the N-terminal region and the membrane-spanning region are involved in determining these differences in activation kinetics. The intracellular N- and C-terminal regions are likely to continue to prove fertile regions in future investigations into the functioning of ion channels.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14608450