PubMed 18414922

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Kv11.1 , Kv8.2

Title: Electrophysiological and fluorescence microscopy studies with HERG channel/EGFP fusion proteins.

Authors: Sonja Claassen, Sarah Schwarzer, Jost Ludwig, Bernd J Zünkler

Journal, date & volume: J. Membr. Biol., 2008 Mar , 222, 31-41

PubMed link:

HERG (human ether-a-go-go-related gene) encodes the Kv11.1 protein alpha-subunit that underlies the rapidly activating delayed rectifier K+ current (IKr) in the heart. Alterations in the functional properties or membrane incorporation of HERG channels, either by genetic mutations or by administration of drugs, play major roles in the development of life-threatening torsades de pointes cardiac arrhythmias. Visualization of ion channel localization is facilitated by enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) tagging, but this process can alter their properties. The aim of the present study was to characterize the electrophysiological properties and the cellular localization of HERG channels in which EGFP was tagged either to the C terminus (HERG/EGFP) or to the N terminus (EGFP/HERG). These fusion constructs were transiently expressed in human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells, and the whole-cell patch-clamp configuration and a confocal laser scanning microscope with primary anti-HERG antibodies and fluorescently labeled secondary antibodies were used. For EGFP/HERG channels the deactivation kinetics were faster and the peak tail current density was reduced when compared to both wild-type HERG channels and HERG/EGFP channels. Laser scanning microscopic studies showed that both fusion proteins were localized in the cytoplasm and on discrete microdomains in the plasma membrane. The extent of labeling with anti-HERG antibodies of HEK 293 cells expressing EGFP/HERG channels was less when compared to HERG/EGFP channels. In conclusion, both electrophysiological and immunocytochemical studies showed that EGFP/HERG channels themselves have a protein trafficking defect. HERG/EGFP channels have similar properties as untagged HERG channels and, thus, might be especially useful for fluorescence microscopy studies.