Association and colocalization of K+ channel α- and β-subunit polypeptides in rat brain

Kenneth J. Rhodes, Sue A. Keilbaugh, Nestor X. Barrezueta, Kimberley L. Lopez, James Trimmer

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190 Scopus citations


Recent cloning of auxiliary subunits associated with voltage-gated ion channels and their subsequent coexpression with the channel forming α-subunits has revealed that the expression level, gating and conductance properties of the expressed channels can be profoundly affected by the presence of an auxiliary subunit polypeptide. In the present study, we raised antibodies against the β-subunit associated with the bovine dendrotoxin sensitive K+-channel complex and used these antibodies to characterize the related β-subunit polypeptides in rat brain. The anti-β-subunit antibodies displayed a specific reaction on immunoblots of rat brain membranes with a major 38 kDa polypeptide, and a minor 41 kDa polypeptide, which correspond closely to the predicted sizes of the Kvβ2 and Kvβ1 β-subunit polypeptides, respectively, recently cloned from rat brain. Reciprocal coimmunoprecipitation experiments revealed that the β-subunit polypeptides are associated with Kv1.2 and Kv1.4, but not Kv2.1, α-subunits. Immunohistochemical staining revealed that the β-subunit polypeptides were widely distributed in adult rat brain. Moreover, the cellular distribution of β-subunit immunoreactivity corresponded closely with immunoreactivity for Kv1.2, and to a lesser extent Kv1.4, but not with Kv2.1. These results suggest that neuronal mechanisms may exist to direct the selective interaction of K+ channel α- and β-subunit polypeptides, and that the properties of K+ channels in specific subcellular domains may be regulated by the formation of heteromultimeric K+ channel complexes containing specific combinations of α- and β-subunits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5360-5371
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number7 I
StatePublished - Jul 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Auxiliary subunits
  • Cerebellum
  • CNS
  • Hippocampus
  • Ion channel
  • Tissue-specific gene expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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