Article

Apoptotic surge of potassium currents is mediated by p38 phosphorylation of Kv2.1.

Department of Neurobiology and Pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 03/2007; 104(9):3568-73. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0610159104
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Kv2.1, the primary delayed rectifying potassium channel in neurons, is extensively regulated by phosphorylation. Previous reports have described Kv2.1 phosphorylation events affecting channel gating and the impact of this process on cellular excitability. Kv2.1, however, also provides the critical exit route for potassium ions during neuronal apoptosis via p38 MAPK-dependent membrane insertion, resulting in a pronounced enhancement of K(+) currents. Here, electrophysiological and viability studies using Kv2.1 channel mutants identify a p38 phosphorylation site at Ser-800 (S800) that is required for Kv2.1 membrane insertion, K(+) current surge, and cell death. In addition, a phospho-specific antibody for S800 detects a p38-dependent increase in Kv2.1 phosphorylation in apoptotic neurons and reveals phosphorylation of S800 in immunopurified channels incubated with active p38. Consequently, phosphorylation of Kv2.1 residue S800 by p38 leads to trafficking and membrane insertion during apoptosis, and remarkably, the absence of S800 phosphorylation is sufficient to prevent completion of the cell death program.

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