Intracellular zinc activates KCNQ channels by reducing their dependence on phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate.
ABSTRACT: M-type (Kv7, KCNQ) potassium channels are proteins that control the excitability of neurons and muscle cells. Many physiological and pathological mechanisms of excitation operate via the suppression of M channel activity or expression. Conversely, pharmacological augmentation of M channel activity is a recognized strategy for the treatment of hyperexcitability disorders such as pain and epilepsy. However, physiological mechanisms resulting in M channel potentiation are rare. Here we report that intracellular free zinc directly and reversibly augments the activity of recombinant and native M channels. This effect is mechanistically distinct from the known redox-dependent KCNQ channel potentiation. Interestingly, the effect of zinc cannot be attributed to a single histidine- or cysteine-containing zinc-binding site within KCNQ channels. Instead, zinc dramatically reduces KCNQ channel dependence on its obligatory physiological activator, phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2). We hypothesize that zinc facilitates interactions of the lipid-facing interface of a KCNQ protein with the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane in a way similar to that promoted by PIP2 Because zinc is increasingly recognized as a ubiquitous intracellular second messenger, this discovery might represent a hitherto unknown native pathway of M channel modulation and provide a fresh strategy for the design of M channel activators for therapeutic purposes.
Project description:Noninactivating potassium current formed by KCNQ2 (Kv7.2) and KCNQ3 (Kv7.3) subunits resembles neuronal M-currents which are activated by voltage and play a critical role in controlling membrane excitability. Activation of voltage-gated potassium channels by a chemical opener is uncommon. Therefore, the mechanisms of action are worthy further investigation. Retigabine and zinc pyrithione are two activators for KCNQ channels but their molecular interactions with KCNQ channel remain largely elusive. Here we report that retigabine and zinc pyrithione recognize two different sites of KCNQ2 channels. Their agonistic actions are noncompetitive and allow for simultaneous binding of two different activators on the same channel complex, hence giving rise to combinatorial potentiation with characteristic properties of both openers. Examining their effects on mutant channels, we showed zinc pyrithione is capable of opening nonconductive channels and coapplication of zinc pyrithione and retigabine could restore a disease mutant channel similar to wild type. Our results indicate two independent activator binding sites present in KCNQ channels. The resultant combinatorial potentiation by multiple synthetic chemical openers indicates that KCNQ channels are accessible to various types and combinations of pharmacological regulation.
Project description:Voltage-gated Kv7 (KCNQ) channels underlie important K+ currents, including the neuronal M current, and are thought to be sensitive to membrane phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) and PIP2 depletion to underlie muscarinic receptor inhibition. We studied regulation of Kv7.2-7.4 channels by PIP2 in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells using single-channel and whole-cell patch clamp and biochemical analysis. Maximal open probabilities (Po) of Kv7.2-Kv7.4 homomultimers and of Kv7.2/7.3 heteromultimers were found to be strongly dependent on the [diC8-PIP2] applied to inside-out patches, with differential apparent affinities that correlate with their maximal Po in on-cell mode. Unitary conductance was not affected by PIP2. Raising tonic [PIP2] by coexpression of phosphatidylinositol (4)5-kinase increased the maximal Po of both Kv7.2 and Kv7.2/7.3 channels studied in on-cell patches and increased whole-cell Kv7.2, but not Kv7.3, current amplitudes. In cells coexpressed with muscarinic M1 receptors, bath application of muscarinic agonist reduced the maximal Po of Kv7.2/7.3 channels isolated in on-cell patches. Coexpression of a PIP2 sequestering construct moderately reduced whole-cell Kv7.2/7.3 currents, and coexpression of a construct containing a PIP2 phosphatase nearly abolished them. Finally, biochemical analysis of anionic phospholipids in CHO cells stably expressing M1 receptors shows that PIP2 and PIP are nearly depleted 1 min after muscarinic stimulation, with an unexpected rebound after 10 min. These results strongly support the direct regulation of Kv7 channels by PIP2 and its depletion as the mechanism of muscarinic suppression of M channels. Divergent apparent affinities of Kv7.2-7.4 channels for PIP2 may underlie their highly differential maximal Po observed in cell-attached patches.
Project description:Many years of studies have established that lipids can impact membrane protein structure and function through bulk membrane effects, by direct but transient annular interactions with the bilayer-exposed surface of protein transmembrane domains, and by specific binding to protein sites. Here, we focus on how phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) impact ion channel function and how the structural details of the interactions of these lipids with ion channels are beginning to emerge. We focus on the Kv7 (KCNQ) subfamily of voltage-gated K+ channels, which are regulated by both PIP2 and PUFAs and play a variety of important roles in human health and disease. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Lipid order/lipid defects and lipid-control of protein activity edited by Dirk Schneider.
Project description:KCNQ channels are critical determinants of neuronal excitability, thus emerging as a novel target of anti-epileptic drugs. To date, the mechanisms of KCNQ channel modulation have been mostly characterized to be inhibitory via Gq-coupled receptors, Ca(2+)/CaM, and protein kinase C. Here we demonstrate that methylation of KCNQ by protein arginine methyltransferase 1 (Prmt1) positively regulates KCNQ channel activity, thereby preventing neuronal hyperexcitability. Prmt1+/- mice exhibit epileptic seizures. Methylation of KCNQ2 channels at 4 arginine residues by Prmt1 enhances PIP2 binding, and Prmt1 depletion lowers PIP2 affinity of KCNQ2 channels and thereby the channel activities. Consistently, exogenous PIP2 addition to Prmt1+/- neurons restores KCNQ currents and neuronal excitability to the WT level. Collectively, we propose that Prmt1-dependent facilitation of KCNQ-PIP2 interaction underlies the positive regulation of KCNQ activity by arginine methylation, which may serve as a key target for prevention of neuronal hyperexcitability and seizures.
Project description:Of the five human KCNQ (Kv7) channels, KCNQ1 with auxiliary subunit KCNE1 mediates the native cardiac I(Ks) current with mutations causing short and long QT cardiac arrhythmias. KCNQ4 mutations cause deafness. KCNQ2/3 channels form the native M-current controlling excitability of most neurons, with mutations causing benign neonatal febrile convulsions. Drosophila contains a single KCNQ (dKCNQ) that appears to serve alone the functions of all the duplicated mammalian neuronal and cardiac KCNQ channels sharing roughly 50-60% amino acid identity therefore offering a route to investigate these channels. Current information about the functional properties of dKCNQ is lacking therefore we have investigated these properties here. Using whole cell patch clamp electrophysiology we compare the biophysical and pharmacological properties of dKCNQ with the mammalian neuronal and cardiac KCNQ channels expressed in HEK cells. We show that Drosophila KCNQ (dKCNQ) is a slowly activating and slowly-deactivating K(+) current open at sub-threshold potentials that has similar properties to neuronal KCNQ2/3 with some features of the cardiac KCNQ1/KCNE1 accompanied by conserved sensitivity to a number of clinically relevant KCNQ blockers (chromanol 293B, XE991, linopirdine) and opener (zinc pyrithione). We also investigate the molecular basis of the differential selectivity of KCNQ channels to the opener retigabine and show a single amino acid substitution (M217W) can confer sensitivity to dKCNQ. We show dKCNQ has similar electrophysiological and pharmacological properties as the mammalian KCNQ channels, allowing future study of physiological and pathological roles of KCNQ in Drosophila and whole organism screening for new modulators of KCNQ channelopathies.
Project description:KCNQ family K+ channels (KCNQ1-5) in the heart, nerve, epithelium and ear require phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) for voltage dependent activation. While membrane lipids are known to regulate voltage sensor domain (VSD) activation and pore opening in voltage dependent gating, PIP2 was found to interact with KCNQ1 and mediate VSD-pore coupling. Here, we show that a compound CP1, identified in silico based on the structures of both KCNQ1 and PIP2, can substitute for PIP2 to mediate VSD-pore coupling. Both PIP2 and CP1 interact with residues amongst a cluster of amino acids critical for VSD-pore coupling. CP1 alters KCNQ channel function due to different interactions with KCNQ compared with PIP2. We also found that CP1 returned drug-induced action potential prolongation in ventricular myocytes to normal durations. These results reveal the structural basis of PIP2 regulation of KCNQ channels and indicate a potential approach for the development of anti-arrhythmic therapy.
Project description:All subtypes of KCNQ channel subunits (KCNQ1-5) require calmodulin as a co-factor for functional channels. It has been demonstrated that calmodulin plays a critical role in KCNQ channel trafficking as well as calcium-mediated current modulation. However, how calcium-bound calmodulin suppresses the M-current is not well understood. In this study, we investigated the molecular mechanism of KCNQ2 current suppression mediated by calcium-bound calmodulin. We show that calcium induced slow calmodulin dissociation from the KCNQ2 channel subunit. In contrast, in homomeric KCNQ3 channels, calcium facilitated calmodulin binding. We demonstrate that this difference in calmodulin binding was due to the unique cysteine residue in the KCNQ2 subunit at aa 527 in Helix B, which corresponds to an arginine residue in other KCNQ subunits including KCNQ3. In addition, a KCNQ2 channel associated protein AKAP79/150 (79 for human, 150 for rodent orthologs) also preferentially bound calcium-bound calmodulin. Therefore, the KCNQ2 channel complex was able to retain calcium-bound calmodulin either through the AKPA79/150 or KCNQ3 subunit. Functionally, increasing intracellular calcium by ionomycin suppressed currents generated by KCNQ2, KCNQ2(C527R) or heteromeric KCNQ2/KCNQ3 channels to an equivalent extent. This suggests that a change in the binding configuration, rather than dissociation of calmodulin, is responsible for KCNQ current suppression. Furthermore, we demonstrate that KCNQ current suppression was accompanied by reduced KCNQ affinity toward phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) when assessed by a voltage-sensitive phosphatase, Ci-VSP. These results suggest that a rise in intracellular calcium induces a change in the configuration of CaM-KCNQ binding, which leads to the reduction of KCNQ affinity for PIP2 and subsequent current suppression.
Project description:Pre-eclampsia is associated with altered maternal and placental vascular reactivity. Kv7 channels (encoded by KCNQ 1-5 genes) are a potential contributor to the regulation of vascular tone in CPAs (chorionic plate arteries) during normal pregnancy. The aim of this study is to establish the expression profile of KCNQ subunits in CPAs taken from women with preeclampsia or normotensive women and to examine the functional relevance of the Kv7 channels on an altered expression profile of KCNQ subunits. The effects of Kv7 channel modulators on CPAs were investigated by tension measurement. Quantitative PCR experiments were used to analyze the expression of KCNQ genes. Western blotting and immunofluorescence were both used to analyze the protein expression of Kv7 channels. Finally, in CPAs from normotensive women, the Kv7 channel blocker XE991 increased arterial basal tone and U46619-induced contraction, and pre-contracted CPAs (10-7 M U46619) exhibited significant relaxation following treatment with Retigabine(Kv7.2-7.5 activator) and BMS-204352(Kv7.2-7.5 activator). However, ICA-27243(selective KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 activator) and ML277(selective KV7.1 activator) had no significant effect on tension in the pre-contracted CPAs. Conversely, compared with CPAs from normotensive women, the effects of XE991 on basal tone and agonist (U46619)-induced contractions in CPAs from women with preeclampsia were markedly attenuated. Moreover, the relaxation effects of Retigabine and BMS-204352 on pre-contracted CPA vessels from women with pre-eclampsia were also markedly down-regulated. Interestingly, the relaxation ability of ICA-27243 in pre-contracted CPA vessels in women with pre-eclampsia was enhanced. The mRNA of KCNQ3 was specifically up-regulated, whereas those for KCNQ4 and KCNQ5 were down-regulated in CPAs from women with pre-eclampsia compared with those in normotensive women. Similar observations were found in a subsequent analysis of protein expression of KCNQ genes 3-5. Thus, down-regulated Kv7 channel function in tension regulation of CPAs in women with pre-eclampsia could be associated with considerably altered expression profiles of Kv7 subunits.
Project description:M channels, an important regulator of neural excitability, are composed of four subunits of the Kv7 (KCNQ) K(+) channel family. M channels were named as such because their activity was suppressed by stimulation of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. These channels are of particular interest because they are activated at the subthreshold membrane potentials. Furthermore, neural KCNQ channels are drug targets for the treatments of epilepsy and a variety of neurological disorders, including chronic and neuropathic pain, deafness, and mental illness. This review will update readers on the roles of KCNQ channels in the sensory system and neural circuits as well as discuss their respective mechanisms and the implications for physiology and medicine. We will also consider future perspectives and the development of additional pharmacological models, such as seizure, stroke, pain and mental illness, which work in combination with drug-design targeting of KCNQ channels. These models will hopefully deepen our understanding of KCNQ channels and provide general therapeutic prospects of related channelopathies.
Project description:Microglia are essential to maintain cell homeostasis in the healthy brain and are activated after brain injury. Upon activation, microglia polarize towards different phenotypes. The course of microglia activation is complex and depends on signals in the surrounding milieu. Recently, it has been suggested that microglia respond to ion currents, as a way of regulating their activity and function. Under the hypothesis that HCN and KCNQ/Kv7 channels impact on microglia, we studied primary rat microglia in the presence or absence of specific pharmacological blockade or RNA silencing. Primary microglia expressed the subunits HCN1-4, Kv7.2, Kv7.3, and Kv7.5. The expression of HCN2, as well as Kv7.2 and Kv7.3, varied among different microglia phenotypes. The pharmacological blockade of HCN channels by ZD7288 resulted in cell depolarization with slowly rising intracellular calcium levels, leading to enhanced survival and reduced proliferation rates of resting microglia. Furthermore, ZD7288 treatment, as well as knockdown of HCN2 RNA by small interfering RNA, resulted in an attenuation of later microglia activation-both towards the anti- and pro-inflammatory phenotype. However, HCN channel inhibition enhanced the phagocytic capacity of IL4-stimulated microglia. Blockade of Kv7/KCNQ channel by XE-991 exclusively inhibited the migratory capacity of resting microglia. These observations suggest that the HCN current contributes to various microglia functions and impacts on the course of microglia activation, while the Kv7/KCNQ channels affect microglia migration. Characterizing the role of HCN channels in microglial functioning may offer new therapeutic approaches for targeted modulation of neuroinflammation as a hallmark of various neurological disorders.