ERG-28 controls BK channel trafficking in the ER to regulate synaptic function and alcohol response in C. elegans.
ABSTRACT: Voltage- and calcium-dependent BK channels regulate calcium-dependent cellular events such as neurotransmitter release by limiting calcium influx. Their plasma membrane abundance is an important factor in determining BK current and thus regulation of calcium-dependent events. In C. elegans, we show that ERG-28, an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane protein, promotes the trafficking of SLO-1 BK channels from the ER to the plasma membrane by shielding them from premature degradation. In the absence of ERG-28, SLO-1 channels undergo aspartic protease DDI-1-dependent degradation, resulting in markedly reduced expression at presynaptic terminals. Loss of erg-28 suppressed phenotypic defects of slo-1 gain-of-function mutants in locomotion, neurotransmitter release, and calcium-mediated asymmetric differentiation of the AWC olfactory neuron pair, and conferred significant ethanol-resistant locomotory behavior, resembling slo-1 loss-of-function mutants, albeit to a lesser extent. Our study thus indicates that the control of BK channel trafficking is a critical regulatory mechanism for synaptic transmission and neural function.
Project description:The C. elegans AWC olfactory neuron pair communicates to specify asymmetric subtypes AWCOFF and AWCON in a stochastic manner. Intercellular communication between AWC and other neurons in a transient NSY-5 gap junction network antagonizes voltage-activated calcium channels, UNC-2 (CaV2) and EGL-19 (CaV1), in the AWCON cell, but how calcium signaling is downregulated by NSY-5 is only partly understood. Here, we show that voltage- and calcium-activated SLO BK potassium channels mediate gap junction signaling to inhibit calcium pathways for asymmetric AWC differentiation. Activation of vertebrate SLO-1 channels causes transient membrane hyperpolarization, which makes it an important negative feedback system for calcium entry through voltage-activated calcium channels. Consistent with the physiological roles of SLO-1, our genetic results suggest that slo-1 BK channels act downstream of NSY-5 gap junctions to inhibit calcium channel-mediated signaling in the specification of AWCON. We also show for the first time that slo-2 BK channels are important for AWC asymmetry and act redundantly with slo-1 to inhibit calcium signaling. In addition, nsy-5-dependent asymmetric expression of slo-1 and slo-2 in the AWCON neuron is necessary and sufficient for AWC asymmetry. SLO-1 and SLO-2 localize close to UNC-2 and EGL-19 in AWC, suggesting a role of possible functional coupling between SLO BK channels and voltage-activated calcium channels in AWC asymmetry. Furthermore, slo-1 and slo-2 regulate the localization of synaptic markers, UNC-2 and RAB-3, in AWC neurons to control AWC asymmetry. We also identify the requirement of bkip-1, which encodes a previously identified auxiliary subunit of SLO-1, for slo-1 and slo-2 function in AWC asymmetry. Together, these results provide an unprecedented molecular link between gap junctions and calcium pathways for terminal differentiation of olfactory neurons.
Project description:Ion channels are present at specific levels within subcellular compartments of excitable cells. The regulation of ion channel trafficking and targeting is an effective way to control cell excitability. The BK channel is a calcium-activated potassium channel that serves as a negative feedback mechanism at presynaptic axon terminals and sites of muscle excitation. The C. elegans BK channel ortholog, SLO-1, requires an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane protein for efficient anterograde transport to these locations. Here, we found that, in the absence of this ER membrane protein, SLO-1 channels that are seemingly normally folded and expressed at physiological levels undergo SEL-11/HRD1-mediated ER-associated degradation (ERAD). This SLO-1 degradation is also indirectly regulated by a SKN-1A/NRF1-mediated transcriptional mechanism that controls proteasome levels. Therefore, our data indicate that SLO-1 channel density is regulated by the competitive balance between the efficiency of ER trafficking machinery and the capacity of ERAD.
Project description:The large conductance, voltage- and calcium-dependent potassium (BK) channel serves as a major negative feedback regulator of calcium-mediated physiological processes and has been implicated in muscle dysfunction and neurological disorders. In addition to membrane depolarization, activation of the BK channel requires a rise in cytosolic calcium. Localization of the BK channel near calcium channels is therefore critical for its function. In a genetic screen designed to isolate novel regulators of the Caenorhabditis elegans BK channel, SLO-1, we identified ctn-1, which encodes an ?-catulin homologue with homology to the cytoskeletal proteins ?-catenin and vinculin. ctn-1 Mutants resemble slo-1 loss-of-function mutants, as well as mutants with a compromised dystrophin complex. We determined that CTN-1 uses two distinct mechanisms to localize SLO-1 in muscles and neurons. In muscles, CTN-1 utilizes the dystrophin complex to localize SLO-1 channels near L-type calcium channels. In neurons, CTN-1 is involved in localizing SLO-1 to a specific domain independent of the dystrophin complex. Our results demonstrate that CTN-1 ensures the localization of SLO-1 within calcium nanodomains, thereby playing a crucial role in muscles and neurons.
Project description:The large conductance, calcium- and voltage-activated potassium channel, known as the BK channel, is one of the central proteins that mediate alcohol intoxication and tolerance across species. Although ethanol targets BK channels through direct interaction, how ethanol-mediated BK channel activation causes behavioral intoxication is poorly understood. In. C. elegans, loss of function in SLO-1, the BK channel ortholog, confers profound ethanol resistance in movement and egg-laying behaviors. Here, we show that depletion of SLO-1 channels clustered at the active zones with no change in the overall channel expression level results in locomotory resistance to the intoxicating effect of ethanol, equivalent to that of slo-1 loss-of-function mutants. Likewise, depletion of clustered SLO-1 channels in the sarcolemma and neurons leads to ethanol-resistant egg-laying behavior. By contrast, reduction in the overall SLO-1 channel level by over 70% causes only moderate ethanol resistance in movement, and minimal, if any, resistance in egg laying. Our findings strongly suggest that behavioral ethanol sensitivity is conferred by local, but not global, depression of excitability via clustered BK channels. Given that clustered BK channels are functionally coupled to, and localize near, calcium channels, ethanol may mediate its behavioral effects by targeting BK channels and their coupled calcium channels.
Project description:Alcohol modulates the highly conserved, voltage- and calcium-activated potassium (BK) channel, which contributes to alcohol-mediated behaviors in species from worms to humans. Previous studies have shown that the calcium-sensitive domains, RCK1 and the Ca(2+) bowl, are required for ethanol activation of the mammalian BK channel in vitro. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, ethanol activates the BK channel in vivo, and deletion of the worm BK channel, SLO-1, confers strong resistance to intoxication. To determine if the conserved RCK1 and calcium bowl domains were also critical for intoxication and basal BK channel-dependent behaviors in C. elegans, we generated transgenic worms that express mutated SLO-1 channels predicted to have the RCK1, Ca(2+) bowl or both domains rendered insensitive to calcium. As expected, mutating these domains inhibited basal function of SLO-1 in vivo as neck and body curvature of these mutants mimicked that of the BK null mutant. Unexpectedly, however, mutating these domains singly or together in SLO-1 had no effect on intoxication in C. elegans. Consistent with these behavioral results, we found that ethanol activated the SLO-1 channel in vitro with or without these domains. By contrast, in agreement with previous in vitro findings, C. elegans harboring a human BK channel with mutated calcium-sensing domains displayed resistance to intoxication. Thus, for the worm SLO-1 channel, the putative calcium-sensitive domains are critical for basal in vivo function but unnecessary for in vivo ethanol action.
Project description:Large conductance, calcium-activated (BK) potassium channels play a central role in the excitability of cochlear hair cells. In mammalian brains, one class of these channels, termed Slo, is encoded by homologues of the Drosophila 'slowpoke' gene. By homology screening with mouse Sla cDNA, we have isolated a full-length clone (cSlo1) from a chick's cochlear cDNA library, rSlol had greater than 90% identity with mouse Slo at the amino acid level, and was even better matched to a human brain Slo at the amino and carboxy termini. cSlol had none of the additional exons found in splice variants from mammalian brain. The reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to show expression of cSlal in the microdissected hair cell epithelium basilar papilla. Transient transfection of HIEK 293 cells demonstrated that cSlol encoded a potassium channel whose conductance averaged 224 pS at +60 mV in symmetrical 140 mM K. Macroscopic currents through cSlol channels were blocked by scorpion toxin or tetraethyl ammonium, and were voltage and calcium dependent. cSlol is likely to encode BK-type calcium-activated potassium channels in cochlear hair cells.
Project description:Membrane depolarization of smooth muscle cells (myocytes) in the small arteries that regulate regional organ blood flow leads to vasoconstriction. Membrane depolarization also activates large-conductance calcium (Ca2+)-activated potassium (BK) channels, which limits Ca2+ channel activity that promotes vasoconstriction, thus leading to vasodilation. We showed that in human and rat arterial myocytes, membrane depolarization rapidly increased the cell surface abundance of auxiliary BK ?1 subunits but not that of the pore-forming BK? channels. Membrane depolarization stimulated voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels, leading to Ca2+ influx and the activation of Rho kinase (ROCK) 1 and 2. ROCK1/2-mediated activation of Rab11A promoted the delivery of ?1 subunits to the plasma membrane by Rab11A-positive recycling endosomes. These additional ?1 subunits associated with BK? channels already at the plasma membrane, leading to an increase in apparent Ca2+ sensitivity and activation of the channels in pressurized arterial myocytes and vasodilation. Thus, membrane depolarization activates BK channels through stimulation of ROCK- and Rab11A-dependent trafficking of ?1 subunits to the surface of arterial myocytes.
Project description:Electrical tuning confers frequency selectivity onto sensory hair cells in the auditory periphery of frogs, turtles, and chicks. The resonant frequency is determined in large part by the number and kinetics of large conductance, calcium-activated potassium (BK) channels. BK channels in hair cells are encoded by the alternatively spliced slo gene and may include an accessory beta subunit. Here we examine the origins of kinetic variability among BK channels by heterologous expression of avian cochlear slo cDNAs. Four alternatively spliced forms of the slo-alpha gene from chick hair cells were co-expressed with accessory beta subunits (from quail cochlea) by transient transfection of human embryonic kidney 293 cells. Addition of the beta subunit increased steady-state calcium affinity, raised the Hill coefficient for calcium binding, and slowed channel deactivation rates, resulting in eight functionally distinct channels. For example, a naturally occurring splice variant containing three additional exons deactivated 20-fold more slowly when combined with beta. Deactivation kinetics were used to predict tuning frequencies and thus tonotopic location if hair cells were endowed with each of the expressed channels. All beta-containing channels were predicted to lie within the apical (low-frequency) 30% of the epithelium, consistent with previous in situ hybridization studies. Individual slo-alpha exons would be found anywhere within the apical 70%, depending on the presence of beta, and other alternative exons. Alternative splicing of the slo-alpha channel message provides intrinsic variability in gating kinetics that is expanded to a wider range of tuning by modulation with beta subunits.
Project description:Large-conductance calcium-activated potassium (BK(Ca)) channels are composed of the pore-forming alpha-subunit and the auxiliary beta-subunits. The beta4-subunit is dominantly expressed in the mammalian central nervous system. To understand the physiological roles of the beta4-subunit on the BK(Ca) channel alpha-subunit (Slo), we isolated a full-length complementary DNA of rat beta4-subunit (rbeta4), expressed heterolgously in Xenopus oocytes, and investigated the detailed functional effects using electrophysiological means. When expressed together with rat Slo (rSlo), rbeta4 profoundly altered the gating characteristics of the Slo channel. At a given concentration of intracellular Ca(2+), rSlo/rbeta4 channels were more sensitive to transmembrane voltage changes. The activation and deactivation rates of macroscopic currents were decreased in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner. The channel activation by Ca(2+) became more cooperative by the coexpression of rbeta4. Single-channel recordings showed that the increased Hill coefficient for Ca(2+) was due to the changes in the open probability of the rSlo/rbeta4 channel. Single BK(Ca) channels composed of rSlo and rbeta4 also exhibited slower kinetics for steady-state gating compared with rSlo channels. Dwell times of both open and closed events were significantly increased. Because BK(Ca) channels are known to modulate neuroexcitability and the expression of the beta4-subunit is highly concentrated in certain subregions of brain, the electrophysiological properties of individual neurons should be affected profoundly by the expression of this second subunit.
Project description:RATIONALE:Large-conductance calcium-activated potassium channels (BK) are composed of pore-forming BK? and auxiliary ?1 subunits in arterial smooth muscle cells (myocytes). Vasoconstrictors, including endothelin-1 (ET-1), inhibit myocyte BK channels, leading to contraction, but mechanisms involved are unclear. Recent evidence indicates that BK? is primarily plasma membrane localized, whereas the cellular location of ?1 can be rapidly altered by Rab11A-positive recycling endosomes. Whether vasoconstrictors regulate the multisubunit composition of surface BK channels to stimulate contraction is unclear. OBJECTIVE:Test the hypothesis that ET-1 inhibits BK channels by altering BK? and ?1 surface trafficking in myocytes, identify mechanisms involved, and determine functional significance in myocytes of small cerebral arteries. METHODS AND RESULTS:ET-1, through activation of PKC (protein kinase C), reduced surface ?1 abundance and the proximity of ?1 to surface BK? in myocytes. In contrast, ET-1 did not alter surface BK?, total ?1, or total BK? proteins. ET-1 stimulated Rab11A phosphorylation, which reduced Rab11A activity. Rab11A serine 177 was identified as a high-probability PKC phosphorylation site. Expression of a phosphorylation-incapable Rab11A construct (Rab11A S177A) blocked the ET-1-induced Rab11A phosphorylation, reduction in Rab11A activity, and decrease in surface ?1 protein. ET-1 inhibited single BK channels and transient BK currents in myocytes and stimulated vasoconstriction via a PKC-dependent mechanism that required Rab11A S177. In contrast, NO-induced Rab11A activation, surface trafficking of ?1 subunits, BK channel and transient BK current activation, and vasodilation did not involve Rab11A S177. CONCLUSIONS:ET-1 stimulates PKC-mediated phosphorylation of Rab11A at serine 177, which inhibits Rab11A and Rab11A-dependent surface trafficking of ?1 subunits. The decrease in surface ?1 subunits leads to a reduction in BK channel calcium-sensitivity, inhibition of transient BK currents, and vasoconstriction. We describe a unique mechanism by which a vasoconstrictor inhibits BK channels and identify Rab11A serine 177 as a modulator of arterial contractility.