Article

Physiological properties of hERG 1a/1b heteromeric currents and a hERG 1b-specific mutation associated with Long-QT syndrome.

Department of Physiology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA.
Circulation Research (Impact Factor: 11.09). 10/2008; 103(7):e81-95. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.108.185249
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cardiac I Kr is a critical repolarizing current in the heart and a target for inherited and acquired long-QT syndrome (LQTS). Biochemical and functional studies have demonstrated that I Kr channels are heteromers composed of both hERG 1a and 1b subunits, yet our current understanding of I Kr functional properties derives primarily from studies of homooligomers of the original hERG 1a isolate. Here, we examine currents produced by hERG 1a and 1a/1b channels expressed in HEK-293 cells at near-physiological temperatures. We find that heteromeric hERG 1a/1b currents are much larger than hERG 1a currents and conduct 80% more charge during an action potential. This surprising difference corresponds to a 2-fold increase in the apparent rates of activation and recovery from inactivation, thus reducing rectification and facilitating current rebound during repolarization. Kinetic modeling shows these gating differences account quantitatively for the differences in current amplitude between the 2 channel types. Drug sensitivity was also different. Compared to homomeric 1a channels, heteromeric 1a/1b channels were inhibited by E-4031 with a slower time course and a corresponding 4-fold shift in the IC50. The importance of hERG 1b in vivo is supported by the identification of a 1b-specific A8V missense mutation in 1/269 unrelated genotype-negative LQTS patients that was absent in 400 control alleles. Mutant 1bA8V expressed alone or with hERG 1a in HEK-293 cells dramatically reduced 1b protein levels. Thus, mutations specifically disrupting hERG 1b function are expected to reduce cardiac I Kr and enhance drug sensitivity, and represent a potential mechanism underlying inherited or acquired LQTS.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Gail Robertson, Jul 08, 2014
0 Followers
 · 
99 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Human ether-á-go-go-related gene (hERG) potassium channels are critical for cardiac action potential repolarization. Cardiac hERG channels comprise two primary isoforms: hERG1a, which has a regulatory N-terminal Per-Arnt-Sim (PAS) domain, and hERG1b, which does not. Isolated, PAS-containing hERG1a N-terminal regions (NTRs) directly regulate NTR-deleted hERG1a channels; however, it is unclear whether hERG1b isoforms contain sufficient machinery to support regulation by hERG1a NTRs. To test this, we constructed a series of PAS domain-containing hERG1a NTRs (encoding amino acids 1-181, 1-228, 1-319, and 1-365). The NTRs were also predicted to form from truncation mutations that were linked to type 2 long QT syndrome (LQTS), a cardiac arrhythmia disorder associated with mutations in the hERG gene. All of the hERG1a NTRs markedly regulated heteromeric hERG1a/hERG1b channels and homomeric hERG1b channels by decreasing the magnitude of the current-voltage relationship and slowing the kinetics of channel closing (deactivation). In contrast, NTRs did not measurably regulate hERG1a channels. A short NTR (encoding amino acids 1-135) composed primarily of the PAS domain was sufficient to regulate hERG1b. These results suggest that isolated hERG1a NTRs directly interact with hERG1b subunits. Our results demonstrate that deactivation is faster in hERG1a/hERG1b channels compared to hERG1a channels because of fewer PAS domains, not because of an inhibitory effect of the unique hERG1b NTR. A decrease in outward current density of hERG1a/hERG1b channels by hERG1a NTRs may be a mechanism for LQTS.
    The Journal of General Physiology 12/2011; 138(6):581-92. DOI:10.1085/jgp.201110683 · 4.57 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Excess reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a crucial role under pathophysiological conditions, such as ischaemia/reperfusion and diabetes, potentially contributing to cardiac arrhythmia. hERG1 (KCNH2) potassium channels terminate the cardiac action potential and malfunction can lead to long-QT syndrome and fatal arrhythmia. To investigate the molecular mechanisms of hERG1 channel alteration by ROS, hERG1 and mutants thereof were expressed in HEK293 cells and studied with the whole-cell patch-clamp method. Even mild ROS stress induced by hyperglycaemia markedly decreased channel current. Intracellular H2O2 or cysteine-specific modifiers also strongly inhibited channel activity and accelerated deactivation kinetics. Mutagenesis revealed that cysteine 723 (C723), a conserved residue in a structural element linking the C-terminal domain to the channel's gate, is critical for oxidative functional modification. Moreover, kinetics of channel closure strongly influences ROS-induced modification, where rapid channel deactivation diminishes ROS sensitivity. Because of its fast deactivation kinetics, the N-terminally truncated splice variant hERG1b possesses greater resistance to oxidative modification.
    The Journal of Physiology 08/2010; 588(Pt 16):2999-3009. DOI:10.1113/jphysiol.2010.192468 · 4.54 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Different K(+) currents have been implicated in the myocardial action potential repolarization including the I(Kr). ERG1 alpha subunits, identified as the molecular correlate of I(Kr), have been shown to form heteromultimeric channels in the heart and their activity is modulated by a complex interplay of signal transduction events. Using electrophysiological techniques, we examined the effects of the cGMP-analogue 8-Br-cGMP on rat and guinea-pig papillary action potential duration (APD), on the biophysical properties of heterologously expressed homo- and heteromeric ERG1 channels, and on cardiac I(Kr). 8-Br-cGMP prolonged APD by about 25% after pharmacological inhibition of L-type Ca(2+) currents and I(Ks). The prolongation was completely abolished by prior application of the hERG channel blocker E-4031 or the protein kinase G (PKG) inhibitor Rp-8-Br-cGMPS. Expression analysis revealed the presence of both ERG1a and -1b subunits in rat papillary muscle. Both 8-Br-cGMP and ANP inhibited heterologously expressed ERG1b and even stronger ERG1a/1b channels, whereas ERG1a channels remained unaffected. The inhibitory 8-Br-cGMP effects were PKG-dependent and involved a profound ERG current reduction, which was also observed with cardiac AP clamp recordings. Measurements of I(Kr) from isolated mouse cardiomyocytes using Cs(+) as charge carrier exhibited faster deactivation kinetics in atrial than in ventricular myocytes consistent with a higher relative expression of ERG1b transcripts in atria than in ventricles. 8-Br-cGMP significantly reduced I(Kr) in atrial, but not in ventricular myocytes. These findings provide first evidence that through heteromeric assembly ERG1 channels become a critical target of cGMP-PKG signaling linking cGMP accumulation to cardiac I(Kr) modulation.
    Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology 02/2010; 49(1):48-57. DOI:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2010.02.015 · 5.22 Impact Factor