PubMed 14742730

Title: Functional up-regulation of KCNA gene family expression in murine mesenteric resistance artery smooth muscle.

Authors: S J Fountain, A Cheong, R Flemming, L Mair, A Sivaprasadarao, D J Beech

Journal, date & volume: J. Physiol. (Lond.), 2004 Apr 1 , 556, 29-42

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This study focused on the hypothesis that KCNA genes (which encode K(V)alpha1 voltage-gated K(+) channels) have enhanced functional expression in smooth muscle cells of a primary determinant of peripheral resistance - the small mesenteric artery. Real-time PCR methodology was developed to measure cell type-specific in situ gene expression. Profiles were determined for arterial myocyte expression of RNA species encoding K(V)alpha1 subunits as well as K(V)beta1, K(V)alpha2.1, K(V)gamma9.3, BK(Ca)alpha1 and BK(Ca)beta1. The seven major KCNA genes were expressed and more readily detected in endothelium-denuded mesenteric resistance artery compared with thoracic aorta; quantification revealed dramatic differential expression of one to two orders of magnitude. There was also four times more RNA encoding K(V)alpha2.1 but less or similar amounts encoding K(V)beta1, K(V)gamma9.3, BK(Ca)alpha1 and BK(Cabeta)1. Patch-clamp recordings from freshly isolated smooth muscle cells revealed dominant K(V)alpha1 K(+) current and current density twice as large in mesenteric cells. Therefore, we suggest the increased RNA production of the resistance artery impacts on physiological function, although there is quantitatively less K(+) current than might be expected. The mechanism conferring up-regulated expression of KCNA genes may be common to all the gene family and play a functional role in the physiological control of blood pressure.