Diverse roles for auxiliary subunits in phosphorylation-dependent regulation of mammalian brain voltage-gated potassium channels

Helene Vacher, James Trimmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Voltage-gated ion channels are a diverse family of signaling proteins that mediate rapid electrical signaling events. Among these, voltage-gated potassium or Kv channels are the most diverse partly due to the large number of principal (or α) subunits and auxiliary subunits that can assemble in different combinations to generate Kv channel complexes with distinct structures and functions. The diversity of Kv channels underlies much of the variability in the active properties between different mammalian central neurons and the dynamic changes that lead to experience-dependent plasticity in intrinsic excitability. Recent studies have revealed that Kv channel α subunits and auxiliary subunits are extensively phosphorylated, contributing to additional structural and functional diversity. Here, we highlight recent studies that show that auxiliary subunits exert some of their profound effects on dendritic Kv4 and axonal Kv1 channels through phosphorylation-dependent mechanisms, either due to phosphorylation on the auxiliary subunit itself or by influencing the extent and/or impact of α subunit phosphorylation. The complex effects of auxiliary subunits and phosphorylation provide a potent mechanism to generate additional diversity in the structure and function of Kv4 and Kv1 channels, as well as allowing for dynamic reversible regulation of these important ion channels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-643
Number of pages13
JournalPflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology
Volume462
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2011

Keywords

  • β subunits
  • A-current
  • Hippocampal neurons
  • Phosphorylation
  • Potassium channel
  • Protein kinase A
  • Regulation
  • Voltage-gated channels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)

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