PubMed 12223479

Title: Reciprocal modulation between the alpha and beta 4 subunits of hSlo calcium-dependent potassium channels.

Authors: Ping Jin, Thomas M Weiger, Irwin B Levitan

Journal, date & volume: J. Biol. Chem., 2002 Nov 15 , 277, 43724-9

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Large conductance Ca(2+)-dependent potassium (K(Ca) or maxi K) channels are composed of a pore-forming alpha subunit and an auxiliary beta subunit. We have shown that the brain-specific beta4 subunit modulates the voltage dependence, activation kinetics, and toxin sensitivity of the hSlo channel (Weiger, T. M., Holmqvist, M. H., Levitan, I. B., Clark, F. T., Sprague, S., Huang, W. J., Ge, P., Wang, C., Lawson, D., Jurman, M. E., Glucksmann, M. A., Silos-Santiago, I., DiStefano, P. S., and Curtis, R. (2000) J. Neurosci. 20, 3563-3570). We investigated here the N-linked glycosylation of the beta4 subunit and its effect on the modulation of the hSlo alpha subunit. When expressed alone in HEK293 cells, the beta4 subunit runs as a single molecular weight band on an SDS gel. However, when coexpressed with the hSlo alpha subunit, the beta4 subunit appears as two different molecular weight bands. Enzymatic deglycosylation or mutation of the N-linked glycosylation residues in beta4 converts it to a single lower molecular weight band, even in the presence of the hSlo alpha subunit, suggesting that the beta4 subunit can be present as an immature, core glycosylated form and a mature, highly glycosylated form. Blockage of protein transport from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi compartment with brefeldin A abolishes the mature, highly glycosylated beta4 band. Glycosylation of the beta4 subunit is not required for its binding to the hSlo channel alpha subunit. It also is not necessary for cell membrane targeting of the beta4 subunit, as demonstrated by surface biotinylation experiments. However, the double glycosylation site mutant beta4 (beta4 N53A/N90A) protects the channel less against toxin blockade, as compared with the hSlo channel coexpressed with wild type beta4 subunit. Taken together, these data show that the pore-forming alpha subunit of the hSlo channel promotes N-linked glycosylation of its auxiliary beta4 subunit, and this in turn influences the modulation of the channel by the beta4 subunit.