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Species-specific Differences among KCNMB3 BK beta3 auxiliary subunits: some beta3 N-terminal variants may be primate-specific subunits.


Authors: Xuhui Zeng, Xiao-Ming Xia, Christopher J Lingle

Journal, date & volume: J. Gen. Physiol., 2008 Jul , 132, 115-29

PubMed link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18591419

Channelpedia reference in: BKB3

Abstract
The KCNMB3 gene encodes one of a family of four auxiliary beta subunits found in the mammalian genome that associate with Slo1 alpha subunits and regulate BK channel function. In humans, the KCNMB3 gene contains four N-terminal alternative exons that produce four functionally distinct beta3 subunits, beta3a-d. Three variants, beta3a-c, exhibit kinetically distinct inactivation behaviors. Since investigation of the physiological roles of BK auxiliary subunits will depend on studies in rodents, here we have determined the identity and functional properties of mouse beta3 variants. Whereas beta1, beta2, and beta4 subunits exhibit 83.2%, 95.3%, and 93.8% identity between mouse and human, the mouse beta3 subunit, excluding N-terminal splice variants, shares only 62.8% amino acid identity with its human counterpart. Based on an examination of the mouse genome and screening of mouse cDNA libraries, here we have identified only two N-terminal candidates, beta3a and beta3b, of the four found in humans. Both human and mouse beta3a subunits produce a characteristic use-dependent inactivation. Surprisingly, whereas the hbeta3b exhibits rapid inactivation, the putative mbeta3b does not inactivate. Furthermore, unlike hbeta3, the mbeta3 subunit, irrespective of the N terminus, mediates a shift in gating to more negative potentials at a given Ca(2+) concentration. The shift in gating gradually is lost following patch excision, suggesting that the gating shift involves some regulatory process dependent on the cytosolic milieu. Examination of additional genomes to assess conservation among splice variants suggests that the putative mbeta3b N terminus may not be a true orthologue of the hbeta3b N terminus and that both beta3c and beta3d appear likely to be primate-specific N-terminal variants. These results have three key implications: first, functional properties of homologous beta3 subunits may differ among mammalian species; second, the specific physiological roles of homologous beta3 subunits may differ among mammalian species; and, third, some beta3 variants may be primate-specific ion channel subunits.