Identification of a posttranslational mechanism for the regulation of hERG1 K+ channel expression and hERG1 current density in tumor cells.
ABSTRACT: A common feature of tumor cells is the aberrant expression of ion channels on their plasma membrane. The molecular mechanisms regulating ion channel expression in cancer cells are still poorly known. K(+) channels that belong to the human ether-a-go-go-related gene 1 (herg1) family are frequently misexpressed in cancer cells compared to their healthy counterparts. We describe here a posttranslational mechanism for the regulation of hERG1 channel surface expression in cancer cells. This mechanism is based on the activity of hERG1 isoforms containing the USO exon. These isoforms (i) are frequently overexpressed in human cancers, (ii) are retained in the endoplasmic reticulum, and (iii) form heterotetramers with different proteins of the hERG family. (iv) The USO-containing heterotetramers are retained intracellularly and undergo ubiquitin-dependent degradation. This process results in decreased hERG1 current (I(hERG1)) density. We detailed such a mechanism in heterologous systems and confirmed its functioning in tumor cells that endogenously express hERG1 proteins. The silencing of USO-containing hERG1 isoforms induces a higher I(hERG1) density in tumors, an effect that apparently regulates neurite outgrowth in neuroblastoma cells and apoptosis in leukemia cells.
Project description:The human ether-a-go-go-related gene 1 (hERG1) encodes the pore-forming subunit of the rapidly activating delayed rectifier potassium channel. Several hERG1 isoforms with different N- and C-terminal ends have been identified. The hERG1a, hERG1b, and hERG1-3.1 isoforms contain the full-length C terminus, whereas the hERG1(USO) isoforms, hERG1a(USO) and hERG1b(USO), lack most of the C-terminal domain and contain a unique C-terminal end. The mechanisms underlying the generation of hERG1(USO) isoforms are not understood. We show that hERG1 isoforms with different C-terminal ends are generated by alternative splicing and polyadenylation of hERG1 pre-mRNA. We identified an intrinsically weak, noncanonical poly(A) signal, AGUAAA, within intron 9 of hERG1 that modulates the expression of hERG1a and hERG1a(USO). Replacing AGUAAA with the strong, canonical poly(A) signal AAUAAA resulted in the predominant production of hERG1a(USO) and a marked decrease in hERG1 current. In contrast, eliminating the intron 9 poly(A) signal or increasing the strength of 5' splice site led to the predominant production of hERG1a and a significant increase in hERG1 current. We found significant variation in the relative abundance of hERG1 C-terminal isoforms in different human tissues. Taken together, these findings suggest that post-transcriptional regulation of hERG1 pre-mRNA may represent a novel mechanism to modulate the expression and function of hERG1 channels.
Project description:Mutations in the human ether-a-go-go-related gene 1 (hERG1) cause type 2 long QT syndrome (LQT2). The hERG1 gene encodes a K(+) channel with properties similar to the rapidly activating delayed rectifying K(+) current in the heart. Several hERG1 isoforms with unique structural and functional properties have been identified. To date, the pathogenic mechanisms of LQT2 mutations have been predominantly described in the context of the hERG1a isoform. In the present study, we investigated the functional consequences of the LQT2 mutation G628S in the hERG1b and hERG1a(USO) isoforms.A double-stable, mammalian expression system was developed to characterize isoform-specific dominant-negative effects of G628S-containing channels when co-expressed at equivalent levels with wild-type hERG1a. Western blot and co-immunoprecipitation studies were performed to study the trafficking and co-assembly of wild-type and mutant hERG1 isoforms. Patch-clamp electrophysiology was performed to characterize hERG1 channel function and the isoform-specific dominant-negative effects associated with the G628S mutation.The non-functional hERG1a-G628S and hERG1b-G628S channels co-assembled with wild-type hERG1a and dominantly suppressed hERG1 current. In contrast, G628S-induced dominant-negative effects were absent in the context of the hERG1a(USO) isoform. hERG1a(USO)-G628S channels did not appreciably associate with hERG1a and did not significantly suppress hERG1 current when co-expressed at equivalent ratios or at ratios that approximate those found in cardiac tissue. These results suggest that the dominant-negative effects of LQT2 mutations may primarily occur in the context of the hERG1a and hERG1b isoforms.
Project description:HERG (human ether-à-go-go-related gene) K(+) currents fulfill important ionic functions in cardiac and other excitable cells. In addition, HERG channels influence cell growth and migration in various types of tumor cells. The mechanisms underlying these functions are still not resolved. Here, we investigated the role of HERG channels for cell growth in a cell line (SW2) derived from small cell lung cancer (SCLC), a malignant variant of lung cancer. The two HERG1 isoforms (HERG1a, HERG1b) as well as HERG2 and HERG3 are expressed in SW2 cells. Inhibition of HERG currents by acute or sustained application of E-4031, a specific ERG channel blocker, depolarized SW2 cells by 10-15 mV. This result indicated that HERG K(+) conductance contributes considerably to the maintenance of the resting potential of about -45 mV. Blockage of HERG channels by E-4031 for up to 72 h did not affect cell proliferation. In contrast, siRNA-induced inhibition of HERG1 protein expression decreased cell proliferation by about 50%. Reduction of HERG1 protein expression was confirmed by Western blots. HERG current was almost absent in SW2 cells transfected with siRNA against HERG1. Qualitatively similar results were obtained in three other SCLC cell lines (OH1, OH3, H82), suggesting that the HERG1 channel protein is involved in SCLC cell growth, whereas the ion-conducting function of HERG1 seems not to be important for cell growth.
Project description:Block of human ether-à-go-go-related gene 1 (hERG1) K(+) channels by many drugs delays cardiac repolarization, prolongs QT interval, and is associated with an increased risk of cardiac arrhythmia. Preferential block of hERG1 channels in an inactivated state has been assumed because inactivation deficient mutant channels can exhibit dramatically reduced drug sensitivity. Here we reexamine the link between inactivation gating and potency of channel block using concatenated hERG1 tetramers containing a variable number (0-4) of subunits harboring a point mutation (S620T or S631A) that disrupts inactivation. Concatenated hERG1 tetramers containing four wild-type subunits exhibited high-affinity block by cisapride, dofetilide, and MK-499, similar to wild-type channels formed from hERG1 monomers. A single S620T subunit within a tetramer was sufficient to fully disrupt inactivation gating, whereas S631A suppressed inactivation as a graded function of the number of mutant subunits present in a concatenated tetramer. Drug potency was positively correlated to the number of S620T subunits contained within a tetramer but unrelated to mutation-induced disruption of channel inactivation. Introduction of a second point mutation (Y652W) into S620T hERG1 partially rescued drug sensitivity. The potency of cisapride was not altered for tetramers containing 0 to 3 S631A subunits, whereas the potency of dofetilide was a graded function of the number of S631A subunits contained within a tetramer. Together these findings indicate that S620T or S631A substitutions can allosterically disrupt drug binding by a mechanism that is independent of their effects on inactivation gating.
Project description:Activation of human ether-a-go-go-related gene 1 (hERG1) K(+) channels mediates repolarization of action potentials in cardiomyocytes. RPR-260243 [(3R,4R)-4-[3-(6-methoxy-quinolin-4-yl)-3-oxo-propyl]-1-[3-(2,3,5-trifluorophenyl)-prop-2-ynyl]-piperidine-3-carboxylic acid] (RPR) slows deactivation and attenuates inactivation of hERG1 channels. A detailed understanding of the molecular mechanism of hERG1 agonists such as RPR may facilitate the design of more selective and potent compounds for prevention of arrhythmia associated with abnormally prolonged ventricular repolarization. RPR binds to a hydrophobic pocket located between two adjacent hERG1 subunits, and, hence, a homotetrameric channel has four identical RPR binding sites. To investigate the stoichiometry of altered channel gating induced by RPR, we constructed and characterized tetrameric hERG1 concatemers containing a variable number of wild-type subunits and subunits containing a point mutation (L553A) that rendered the channel insensitive to RPR, ostensibly by preventing ligand binding. The slowing of deactivation by RPR was proportional to the number of wild-type subunits incorporated into a concatenated tetrameric channel, and four wild-type subunits were required to achieve maximal slowing of deactivation. In contrast, a single wild-type subunit within a concatenated tetramer was sufficient to achieve half of the maximal RPR-induced shift in the voltage dependence of hERG1 inactivation, and maximal effect was achieved in channels containing three or four wild-type subunits. Together our findings suggest that the allosteric modulation of channel gating involves distinct mechanisms of coupling between drug binding and altered deactivation and inactivation.
Project description:1. Ventricular arrhythmias are rare but life-threatening side effects of therapy with the second-generation H(1) receptor antagonists terfenadine and astemizole. Blockade of the K(+) channels encoded by the Human Ether-à-go-go-Related Gene 1 (HERG1) K(+) channels, which is the molecular basis of the cardiac repolarizing current I(Kr), by prolonging cardiac repolarization, has been recognized as the mechanism underlying the cardiac toxicity of these compounds. 2. In the present study, the potential blocking ability of the novel second-generation H(1) receptor antagonist mizolastine of the HERG1 K(+) channels heterologously expressed in Xenopus oocytes and in HEK 293 cells or constitutively present in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells has been examined and compared to that of astemizole. 3. Mizolastine blocked HERG1 K(+) channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes with an estimated IC(50) of 3.4 microM. Mizolastine blockade was characterized by a fast dissociation rate when compared to that of astemizole; when fitted to a monoexponential function, the time constants for drug dissociation from the K(+) channel were 72.4+/-11.9 s for 3 microM mizolastine, and 1361+/-306 s for 1 microM astemizole. 4. In human embryonic kidney 293 cells (HEK 293 cells) stably transfected with HERG1 cDNA, extracellular application of mizolastine exerted a dose-related inhibitory action on I(HERG1), with an IC(50) of 350+/-76 nM. Furthermore, mizolastine dose-dependently inhibited HERG1 K(+) channels constitutively expressed in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma clonal cells. 5. The results of the present study suggest that the novel second-generation H(1) receptor antagonist mizolastine, in concentrations higher than those achieved in vivo during standard therapy, is able to block in some degree both constitutively and heterologously expressed HERG1 K(+) channels, and confirm the heterogeneity of molecules belonging to this therapeutical class with respect to their HERG1-inhibitory action.
Project description:Voltage-gated K(+) channels are tetramers formed by coassembly of four identical or highly related subunits. All four subunits contribute to formation of the selectivity filter, the narrowest region of the channel pore which determines K(+) selective conductance. In some K(+) channels, the selectivity filter can undergo a conformational change to reduce K(+) flux by a mechanism called C-type inactivation. In human ether-a-go-go-related gene 1 (hERG1) K(+) channels, C-type inactivation is allosterically inhibited by ICA-105574, a substituted benzamide. PD-118057, a 2-(phenylamino) benzoic acid, alters selectivity filter gating to enhance open probability of channels. Both compounds bind to a hydrophobic pocket located between adjacent hERG1 subunits. Accordingly, a homotetrameric channel contains four identical activator binding sites. Here we determine the number of binding sites required for maximal drug effect and determine the role of subunit interactions in the modulation of hERG1 gating by these compounds. Concatenated tetramers were constructed to contain a variable number (zero to four) of wild-type and mutant hERG1 subunits, either L646E to inhibit PD-118057 binding or F557L to inhibit ICA-105574 binding. Enhancement of hERG1 channel current magnitude by PD-118057 and attenuated inactivation by ICA-105574 were mediated by cooperative subunit interactions. Maximal effects of the both compounds required the presence of all four binding sites. Understanding how hERG1 agonists allosterically modify channel gating may facilitate mechanism-based drug design of novel agents for treatment of long QT syndrome.
Project description:Human ether à go-go related gene (hERG1) potassium channels underlie the repolarizing I(Kr) current in the heart. Since they are targets of various drugs with cardiac side effects we tested whether the amiodarone derivative 2-methyl-3-(3,5-diiodo-4-carboxymethoxybenzyl)benzofuran (KB130015) blocks hERG1 channels like its parent compound. Using patch-clamp and two-electrode voltage-clamp techniques we found that KB130015 blocks native and recombinant hERG1 channels at high voltages, but it activates them at low voltages. The activating effect has an apparent EC(50) value of 12microM and is brought about by an about 4-fold acceleration of activation kinetics and a shift in voltage-dependent activation by -16mV. Channel activation was not use-dependent and was independent of inactivation gating. KB130015 presumably binds to the hERG1 pore from the cytosolic side and functionally competes with hERG1 block by amiodarone, E4031 (N-[4-[[1-[2-(6-methyl-2-pyridinyl)ethyl]-4-piperidinyl] carbonyl] phenyl] methanesulfonamide dihydrochloride), and sertindole. Vice versa, amiodarone attenuates hERG1 activation by KB130015. Based on synergic channel activation by mallotoxin and KB130015 we conclude that the hERG1 pore contains at least two sites for activators that are functionally coupled among each other and to the cavity-blocker site. KB130015 and amiodarone may serve as lead structures for the identification of hERG1 pore-interacting drugs favoring channel activation vs. block.
Project description:We have studied how the macrolide antibiotic Clarithromycin (Cla) regulates autophagy, which sustains cell survival and resistance to chemotherapy in cancer. We found Cla to inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer (CRC) cells, by modulating the autophagic flux and triggering apoptosis. The accumulation of cytosolic autophagosomes accompanied by the modulation of autophagic markers LC3-II and p62/SQSTM1, points to autophagy exhaustion. Because Cla is known to bind human Ether-à-go-go Related Gene 1 (hERG1) K+ channels, we studied if its effects depended on hERG1 and its conformational states. By availing of hERG1 mutants with different gating properties, we found that fluorescently labelled Cla preferentially bound to the closed channels. Furthermore, by sequestering the channel in the closed conformation, Cla inhibited the formation of a macromolecular complex between hERG1 and the p85 subunit of PI3K. This strongly reduced Akt phosphorylation, and stimulated the p53-dependent cell apoptosis, as witnessed by late caspase activation. Finally, Cla enhanced the cytotoxic effect of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), the main chemotherapeutic agent in CRC, in vitro and in a xenograft CRC model. We conclude that Cla affects the autophagic flux by impairing the signaling pathway linking hERG1 and PI3K. Combining Cla with 5-FU might be a novel therapeutic option in CRC.
Project description:Human ether-a-go-go-related gene 1 (hERG1) K(+) channels mediate repolarization of cardiac action potentials. Unintended block of hERG1 channels by some drugs can prolong the QT interval and induce arrhythmia. Recently, hERG1 channel agonists were discovered and, based on their mechanisms of action can be classified into two types. RPR260243 [(3R,4R)-4-[3-(6-methoxy-quinolin-4-yl)-3-oxo-propyl]-1-[3-(2,3,5 trifluorophenyl)-prop-2-ynyl]-piperidine-3-carboxylic acid], a type 1 agonist, binds to residues located near the intracellular end of S5 and S6 transmembrane segments and activates hERG1 channels by a dual mechanism of slowed deactivation and attenuated P-type inactivation. As defined here, type 2 agonists such as PD-118057 [2-(4-[2-(3,4-dichloro-phenyl)-ethyl]-phenylamino)-benzoic acid] attenuate inactivation but do not slow deactivation. At 10 muM, PD-118057 shifted the half-point for inactivation of wild-type hERG1 channels by +19 mV and increased peak outward current by 136%. Scanning mutagenesis and functional characterization of 44 mutant channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes was used to identify the major structural determinants of the binding site for PD-118057. Single mutations of residues in the pore helix (F619) or the S6 segment (L646) of hERG1 eliminated agonist activity. Mutation of a nearby residues in the S6 segment (C643, M645) enhanced drug activity, presumably by reducing steric hindrance for drug binding. Molecular modeling indicates that PD-118057 binds to a hydrophobic pocket formed by L646 of one hERG1 subunit and F619 of an adjacent subunit. We conclude that direct interaction of PD-118057 with the pore helix attenuates fast P-type inactivation and increases open probability of hERG1 channels.