Structural determinants of M-type KCNQ (Kv7) K+ channel assembly.
ABSTRACT: The ability of KCNQ (Kv7) channels to form hetero-oligomers is of high physiological importance, because heteromers of KCNQ3 with KCNQ2 or KCNQ5 underlie the neuronal M-current, which modulates neuronal excitability. In KCNQ channels, we recently identified a C-terminal subunit interaction (si) domain that determines their subunit-specific assembly. Within this si domain, there are two motifs that comprise approximately 30 amino acid residues each and that exhibit a high probability for coiled-coil formation. Transfer of the first or the second coiled-coil (TCC) domain from KCNQ3 into the KCNQ1 scaffold resulted in chimeras KCNQ1(TCC1)Q3 and KCNQ1(TCC2)Q3, both of which coimmunoprecipitated with KCNQ2. However, only KCNQ1(TCC2)Q3 enhanced KCNQ2 currents and surface expression or exerted a strong dominant-negative effect on KCNQ2. Deletion of TCC2 within KCNQ2 yielded functional homomeric channels but prevented the current augmentation measured after coexpression of KCNQ2 and KCNQ3. In contrast, deleting TCC1 within KCNQ2 did not give functional homomeric KCNQ2 or heteromeric KCNQ2/KCNQ3 channels. Mutations that disrupted the predicted coiled-coil structure of TCC1 in KCNQ2 or KCNQ3 abolished channel activity after expressing these constructs singly or in combination, whereas helix-breaking mutations in TCC2 of KCNQ2 gave functional homomeric channels but prevented the heteromerization with KCNQ3. In contrast, KCNQ3 carrying a coiled-coil disrupting mutation in TCC2 hetero-oligomerized with KCNQ2. Our data suggest that the TCC1 domains of KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 are required to form functional homomeric as well as heteromeric channels, whereas both TCC2 domains facilitate an efficient transport of heteromeric KCNQ2/KCNQ3 channels to the plasma membrane.
Project description:M-type K(+) channels, consisting of KCNQ1-5 (Kv7.1-7.5) subunits, form a variety of homomeric and heteromeric channels. Whereas all the subunits can assemble into homomeric channels, the ability of the subunits to assemble into heteromultimers is highly variable. KCNQ3 is widely thought to co-assemble with several other KCNQ subtypes, whereas KCNQ1 and KCNQ2 do not. However, the existence of other subunit assemblies is not well studied. To systematically explore the heteromeric assembly of KCNQ channels in individual living cells, we performed fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) between cyan fluorescent protein- and yellow fluorescent protein-tagged KCNQ subunits expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells under total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy in which excitation light only penetrates several hundred nanometers into the cell, thus isolating membrane events. We found significant FRET between homomeric subunits as expected from their functional expression in heterologous expression systems. Also as expected from previous work, robust FRET was observed between KCNQ2 and KCNQ3. KCNQ3 and KCNQ4 also showed substantial FRET as did KCNQ4 and KCNQ5. To determine functional assembly of KCNQ4/KCNQ5 heteromers, we performed two types of experiments. In the first, we constructed a mutant tetraethylammonium ion-sensitive KCNQ4 subunit and tested its assembly with KCNQ5 by patch clamp analysis of the tetraethylammonium ion sensitivity of the resulting current; however, those data were not conclusive. In the second, we co-expressed a KCNQ4 (G285S) pore mutant with KCNQ5 and found the former to act as a dominant negative, suggesting co-assembly of the two types of subunits. These data confirm that among the allowed assembly conformations are KCNQ3/4 and KCNQ4/5 heteromers.
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:Epilepsy is caused by an electrical hyperexcitability in the CNS. Because K+ channels are critical for establishing and stabilizing the resting potential of neurons, a loss of K+ channels could support neuronal hyperexcitability. Indeed, benign familial neonatal convulsions, an autosomal dominant epilepsy of infancy, is caused by mutations in KCNQ2 or KCNQ3 K+ channel genes. Because these channels contribute to the native muscarinic-sensitive K+ current (M current) that regulates excitability of numerous types of neurons, KCNQ (Kv7) channel activators would be effective in epilepsy treatment. A compound exhibiting anticonvulsant activity in animal seizure models is retigabine. It specifically acts on the neuronally expressed KCNQ2-KCNQ5 (Kv7.2-Kv7.5) channels, whereas KCNQ1 (Kv7.1) is not affected. Using the differential sensitivity of KCNQ3 and KCNQ1 to retigabine, we constructed chimeras to identify minimal segments required for sensitivity to the drug. We identified a single tryptophan residue within the S5 segment of KCNQ3 and also KCNQ2, KCNQ4, and KCNQ5 as crucial for the effect of retigabine. Furthermore, heteromeric KCNQ channels comprising KCNQ2 and KCNQ1 transmembrane domains (attributable to transfer of assembly properties from KCNQ3 to KCNQ1) are retigabine insensitive. Transfer of the tryptophan into the KCNQ1 scaffold resulted in retigabine-sensitive heteromers, suggesting that the tryptophan is necessary in all KCNQ subunits forming a functional tetramer to confer drug sensitivity.
Project description:KCNQ3 homomeric channels yield very small macroscopic currents compared with other KCNQ channels or KCNQ2/3 heteromers. Two disparate regions of the channels--the C-terminus and the pore region--have been implicated in governing KCNQ current amplitudes. We previously showed that the C-terminus plays a secondary role compared with the pore region. Here, we confirm the critical role of the pore region in determining KCNQ3 currents. We find that mutations at the 312 position in the pore helix of KCNQ3 (I312E, I312K, and I312R) dramatically decreased KCNQ3 homomeric currents as well as heteromeric KCNQ2/3 currents. Evidence that these mutants were expressed in the heteromers includes shifted TEA sensitivity compared with KCNQ2 homomers. To test for differential membrane protein expression, we performed total internal reflection fluorescence imaging, which revealed only small differences that do not underlie the differences in macroscopic currents. To determine whether this mechanism generalizes to other KCNQ channels, we tested the effects of analogous mutations at the conserved I273 position in KCNQ2, with similar results. Finally, we performed homology modeling of the pore region of wild-type and mutant KCNQ3 channels to investigate the putative structural mechanism mediating these results. The modeling suggests that the lack of current in I312E, I312K, and I312R KCNQ3 channels is due to pore helix-selectivity filter interactions that lock the selectivity filter in a nonconductive conformation.
Project description:Mutations in members of the KCNQ channel family underlie multiple diseases affecting the nervous and cardiovascular systems. Despite their clinical relevance, research into these channels is limited by the lack of subtype-selective inhibitors, making it difficult to differentiate the physiological function of each family member in vivo. We have proposed that KCNQ channels might partially underlie the calcium-activated slow afterhyperpolarization (sAHP), a neuronal conductance whose molecular components are uncertain. Here, we investigated whether 3-(triphenylmethylaminomethyl)pyridine (UCL2077), identified previously as an inhibitor of the sAHP in neurons, acts on members of the KCNQ family expressed in heterologous cells. We found that 3 μM UCL2077 strongly inhibits KCNQ1 and KCNQ2 channels and weakly blocks KCNQ4 channels in a voltage-independent manner. In contrast, UCL2077 potentiates KCNQ5 channels at more positive membrane potentials, with little effect at negative membrane potentials. We found that the effect of UCL2077 on KCNQ3 is bimodal: currents are enhanced at negative membrane potentials and inhibited at positive potentials. We found that UCL2077 facilitates KCNQ3 currents by inducing a leftward shift in the KCNQ3 voltage-dependence, a shift dependent on tryptophan 265. Finally, we show that UCL2077 has intermediate effects on KCNQ2/3 heteromeric channels compared with KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 homomers. Together, our data demonstrate that UCL2077 acts on KCNQ channels in a subtype-selective manner. This feature should make UCL2077 a useful tool for distinguishing KCNQ1 and KCNQ2 from less-sensitive KCNQ family members in neurons and cardiac cells in future studies.
Project description:KCNQ2/KCNQ3 channels are the molecular correlates of the neuronal M-channels, which play a major role in the control of neuronal excitability. Notably, they differ from homomeric KCNQ2 channels in their distribution pattern within neurons, with unique expression of KCNQ2 in axons and nerve terminals. Here, combined reciprocal coimmunoprecipitation and two-electrode voltage clamp analyses in Xenopus oocytes revealed a strong association of syntaxin 1A, a major component of the exocytotic SNARE complex, with KCNQ2 homomeric channels resulting in a approximately 2-fold reduction in macroscopic conductance and approximately 2-fold slower activation kinetics. Remarkably, the interaction of KCNQ2/Q3 heteromeric channels with syntaxin 1A was significantly weaker and KCNQ3 homomeric channels were practically resistant to syntaxin 1A. Analysis of different KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 chimeras and deletion mutants combined with in-vitro binding analysis pinpointed a crucial C-terminal syntaxin 1A-association domain in KCNQ2. Pull-down and coimmunoprecipitation analyses in hippocampal and cortical synaptosomes demonstrated a physical interaction of brain KCNQ2 with syntaxin 1A, and confocal immunofluorescence microscopy showed high colocalization of KCNQ2 and syntaxin 1A at presynaptic varicosities. The selective interaction of syntaxin 1A with KCNQ2, combined with a numerical simulation of syntaxin 1A's impact in a firing-neuron model, suggest that syntaxin 1A's interaction is targeted at regulating KCNQ2 channels to fine-tune presynaptic transmitter release, without interfering with the function of KCNQ2/3 channels in neuronal firing frequency adaptation.
Project description:Mutations in KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 voltage-gated potassium channels lead to neonatal epilepsy as a consequence of their key role in regulating neuronal excitability. Previous studies in the brain have focused primarily on these KCNQ family members, which contribute to M-currents and afterhyperpolarization conductances in multiple brain areas. In contrast, the function of KCNQ5 (Kv7.5), which also displays widespread expression in the brain, is entirely unknown. Here, we developed mice that carry a dominant negative mutation in the KCNQ5 pore to probe whether it has a similar function as other KCNQ channels. This mutation renders KCNQ5(dn)-containing homomeric and heteromeric channels nonfunctional. We find that Kcnq5(dn/dn) mice are viable and have normal brain morphology. Furthermore, expression and neuronal localization of KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 subunits are unchanged. However, in the CA3 area of hippocampus, a region that highly expresses KCNQ5 channels, the medium and slow afterhyperpolarization currents are significantly reduced. In contrast, neither current is affected in the CA1 area of the hippocampus, a region with low KCNQ5 expression. Our results demonstrate that KCNQ5 channels contribute to the afterhyperpolarization currents in hippocampus in a cell type-specific manner.
Project description:Heteromeric KCNQ2/3 potassium channels are thought to underlie the M-current, a subthreshold potassium current involved in the regulation of neuronal excitability. KCNQ channel subunits are structurally unique, but it is unknown whether these structural differences result in unique conduction properties. Heterologously expressed KCNQ2/3 channels showed a permeation sequence of while showing a conduction sequence of A differential contribution of component subunits to the properties of heteromeric KCNQ2/3 channels was demonstrated by studying homomeric KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 channels, which displayed contrasting ionic selectivities. KCNQ2/3 channels did not exhibit an anomalous mole-fraction effect in mixtures of K(+) and Rb(+). However, extreme voltage-dependence of block by external Cs(+) was indicative of multi-ion pore behavior. Block of KCNQ2/3 channels by external Ba(2+) ions was voltage-independent, demonstrating unusual ionic occupation of the outer pore. Selectivity properties and block of KCNQ2 were altered by mutation of outer pore residues in a manner consistent with the presence of multiple ion-binding sites. KCNQ2/3 channel deactivation kinetics were slowed exclusively by Rb(+), whereas activation of KCNQ2/3 channels was altered by a variety of external permeant ions. These data indicate that KCNQ2/3 channels are multi-ion pores which exhibit distinctive mechanisms of ion conduction and gating.
Project description:1. KCNQ K(+) channels are thought to underlie the M current of neurons. To probe if the KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 subtypes underlie the M current of rat superior cervical ganglia (SCG) neurons and of hippocampus, we raised specific antibodies against them and also used the cysteine-alkylating agent N-ethylmaleimide (NEM) as an additional probe of subunit composition. 2. Tested on tsA-201 (tsA) cells transfected with cloned KCNQ1-5 subunits, our antibodies showed high affinity and selectivity for the appropriate subtype. The antibodies immunostained SCG neurons and hippocampal sections at levels similar to those for channels expressed in tsA cells, indicating that KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 are present in SCG and hippocampal neurons. Some hippocampal regions contained only KCNQ2 or KCNQ3 subunits, suggesting the presence of M currents produced by channels other than KCNQ2/3 heteromultimers. 3. We found that NEM augmented M currents in SCG neurons and KCNQ2/3 currents in tsA cells via strong voltage-independent and modest voltage-dependent actions. Expression of individual KCNQ subunits in tsA cells revealed voltage-independent augmentation of KCNQ2, but not KCNQ1 nor KCNQ3, currents by NEM indicating that this action on SCG M currents likely localizes to KCNQ2. Much of the voltage-independent action is lost after the C242T mutation in KCNQ2. 4. The correspondence of NEM effects on expressed KCNQ2/3 and SCG M currents, along with the antibody labelling, provide further evidence that KCNQ2 and KCNQ3 subunits strongly contribute to the M current of neurons. The site of NEM action may be important for treatment of diseases caused by under-expression of these channels.
Project description:We studied regulation by c-Src tyrosine kinase (Src) of KCNQ1-5 channels heterologously expressed in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells and of native M current in rat sympathetic neurons. Using whole-cell patch clamp, we found that Src modulates currents from KCNQ3, KCNQ4, and KCNQ5 homomultimers, KCNQ2/3 heteromultimers and native M current, but not currents from KCNQ1 or KCNQ2 homomultimers. Src overexpression had two effects: a decrease of current amplitude (4- to 15-fold for cloned channels and approximately 3-fold for M current) and a slowing of activation kinetics by 2-fold. Both Src actions were mostly reversed by bath application of the Src inhibitors erbstatin (20 microm) and PP2 (200 nm), and mimicked by the tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor sodium vanadate (100 microm). Immunoprecipitation and immunoblot analysis showed Src-dependent phosphotyrosine signals associated with KCNQ3, KCNQ4, and KCNQ5 but not with KCNQ1 or KCNQ2 that may be tyrosine phosphorylation of the channel subunits. Expression of a dominant negative Src that cannot phosphorylate substrates had no effect on the current and did not induce phosphotyrosine signals associated with KCNQ3-5 subunits, further indicating that Src actions on KCNQ currents are mediated by tyrosine phosphorylation. Immunostaining and confocal analysis showed no effect of Src overexpression on the abundance of KCNQ3 protein in CHO cells. Finally, experiments using cloned KCNQ2/3 channels, Src and M(1) muscarinic receptors, and sympathetic neurons demonstrated that the actions on KCNQ channels by Src and by muscarinic agonists use distinct mechanisms.