PubMed 18640987

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Kv1.2 , Kv1.4 , Kv3.1

Title: Identification of an evolutionarily conserved extracellular threonine residue critical for surface expression and its potential coupling of adjacent voltage-sensing and gating domains in voltage-gated potassium channels.

Authors: Lynn McKeown, Matthew P Burnham, Charlotte Hodson, Owen T Jones

Journal, date & volume: J. Biol. Chem., 2008 Oct 31 , 283, 30421-32

PubMed link:

The dynamic expression of voltage-gated potassium channels (Kvs) at the cell surface is a fundamental factor controlling membrane excitability. In exploring possible mechanisms controlling Kv surface expression, we identified a region in the extracellular linker between the first and second of the six (S1-S6) transmembrane-spanning domains of the Kv1.4 channel, which we hypothesized to be critical for its biogenesis. Using immunofluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry, patch clamp electrophysiology, and mutagenesis, we identified a single threonine residue at position 330 within the Kv1.4 S1-S2 linker that is absolutely required for cell surface expression. Mutation of Thr-330 to an alanine, aspartate, or lysine prevented surface expression. However, surface expression occurred upon co-expression of mutant and wild type Kv1.4 subunits or mutation of Thr-330 to a serine. Mutation of the corresponding residue (Thr-211) in Kv3.1 to alanine also caused intracellular retention, suggesting that the conserved threonine plays a generalized role in surface expression. In support of this idea, sequence comparisons showed conservation of the critical threonine in all Kv families and in organisms across the evolutionary spectrum. Based upon the Kv1.2 crystal structure, further mutagenesis, and the partial restoration of surface expression in an electrostatic T330K bridging mutant, we suggest that Thr-330 hydrogen bonds to equally conserved outer pore residues, which may include a glutamate at position 502 that is also critical for surface expression. We propose that Thr-330 serves to interlock the voltage-sensing and gating domains of adjacent monomers, thereby yielding a structure competent for the surface expression of functional tetramers.