Differential expression of potassium channels in placentas from normal and pathological pregnancies: targeting of the K(ir) 2.1 channel to lipid rafts.
ABSTRACT Potassium channels play important physiological roles in human syncytiotrophoblasts (hSTBs) from placenta, an epithelium responsible for maternal-fetal exchange. Basal and apical plasma membranes differ in their lipid and protein composition, and the latter contains cholesterol-enriched microdomains. In placental tissue, the specific localization of potassium channels is unknown. Previously, we described two isolated subdomains from the apical membrane (MVM and LMVM) and their respective microdomains (lipid rafts). Here, we report on the distribution of K(ir)2.1, K(v)2.1, TASK-1, and TREK-1 in hSTB membranes and the lipid rafts that segregate them. Immunoblotting experiments showed that these channels are present mainly in the apical membrane from healthy hSTBs. Apical expression versus basal membrane was 84 and 16% for K(ir)2.1 and K(v)2.1, 60 and 30% for TREK-1, and 74 and 26% for TASK-1. Interestingly, K(v)2.1 showed differences between apical membrane subdomains: 26 ± 8% was located in the LMVM and 59 ± 9% in MVM. In pathological placentas, the expression distribution changed in the basal membrane: preeclampsia shifted to 50% and intrauterine growth restriction to 42% for TASK-1 and both pathologies increased to 25% for K(ir)2.1 and K(v)2.1, K(ir)2.1 appeared to be associated with rafts that were sensitive to cholesterol depletion in healthy, but not in pathological, placentas. K(v)2.1 and TREK-1 emerged in the nonraft fractions. The precise membrane localization of ion channels in hSTB membranes is necessary to understand the physiological events.
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ABSTRACT: How mechanical forces are sensed remains largely mysterious. The forces that gate prokaryotic and several eukaryotic channels were found to come from the lipid membrane. Our survey of animal cells found that membrane force foci all have cholesterol-gathering proteins and are reinforced with cholesterol. This result is evident in overt force sensors at the tips of stereocilia for vertebrate hearing and the touch receptor of Caenorhabditis elegans and mammalian neurons. For less specialized cells, cadherins sustain the force between neighboring cells and integrins between cells and matrix. These tension bearers also pass through and bind to a cholesterol-enriched platform before anchoring to cytoskeleton through other proteins. Cholesterol, in alliance with sphingomyelin and specialized proteins, enforces a more ordered structure in the bilayer. Such a stiffened platform can suppress mechanical noise, redirect, rescale, and confine force. We speculate that such platforms may be dynamic. The applied force may allow disordered-phase lipids to enter the platform-staging channel opening in the thinner mobile neighborhood. The platform may also contain specialized protein/lipid subdomains enclosing mechanosensitive channels to open with localized tension. Such a dynamic stage can mechanically operate structurally disparate channels or enzymes without having to tie them directly to cadherin, integrin, or other protein tethers.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2013; · 9.68 Impact Factor