Article

BK Channel Modulation by Leucine-Rich Repeat Containing Proteins

Section of Neurobiology, Center for Learning and Memory, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 04/2012; 109(20):7917-22. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1205435109
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Molecular diversity of ion channel structure and function underlies variability in electrical signaling in nerve, muscle, and nonexcitable cells. Regulation by variable auxiliary subunits is a major mechanism to generate tissue- or cell-specific diversity of ion channel function. Mammalian large-conductance, voltage- and calcium-activated potassium channels (BK, K(Ca)1.1) are ubiquitously expressed with diverse functions in different tissues or cell types, consisting of the pore-forming, voltage- and Ca(2+)-sensing α-subunits (BKα), either alone or together with the tissue-specific auxiliary β-subunits (β1-β4). We recently identified a leucine-rich repeat (LRR)-containing membrane protein, LRRC26, as a BK channel auxiliary subunit, which causes an unprecedented large negative shift (∼140 mV) in voltage dependence of channel activation. Here we report a group of LRRC26 paralogous proteins, LRRC52, LRRC55, and LRRC38 that potentially function as LRRC26-type auxiliary subunits of BK channels. LRRC52, LRRC55, and LRRC38 produce a marked shift in the BK channel's voltage dependence of activation in the hyperpolarizing direction by ∼100 mV, 50 mV, and 20 mV, respectively, in the absence of calcium. They along with LRRC26 show distinct expression in different human tissues: LRRC26 and LRRC38 mainly in secretory glands, LRRC52 in testis, and LRRC55 in brain. LRRC26 and its paralogs are structurally and functionally distinct from the β-subunits and we designate them as a γ family of the BK channel auxiliary proteins, which potentially regulate the channel's gating properties over a spectrum of different tissues or cell types.

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