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Modulation of the Kv1.3 Potassium Channel by Receptor Tyrosine Kinases

The Journal of General Physiology
The Rockefeller University Press
Publication Date
  • Article


The voltage-dependent potassium channel, Kv1.3, is modulated by the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFr) and the insulin receptor tyrosine kinases. When the EGFr and Kv1.3 are coexpressed in HEK 293 cells, acute treatment of the cells with EGF during a patch recording can suppress the Kv1.3 current within tens of minutes. This effect appears to be due to tyrosine phosphorylation of the channel, as it is blocked by treatment with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor erbstatin, or by mutation of the tyrosine at channel amino acid position 479 to phenylalanine. Previous work has shown that there is a large increase in the tyrosine phosphorylation of Kv1.3 when it is coexpressed with the EGFr. Pretreatment of EGFr and Kv1.3 cotransfected cells with EGF before patch recording also results in a decrease in peak Kv1.3 current. Furthermore, pretreatment of cotransfected cells with an antibody to the EGFr ligand binding domain (α-EGFr), which blocks receptor dimerization and tyrosine kinase activation, blocks the EGFr-mediated suppression of Kv1.3 current. Insulin treatment during patch recording also causes an inhibition of Kv1.3 current after tens of minutes, while pretreatment for 18 h produces almost total suppression of current. In addition to depressing peak Kv1.3 current, EGF treatment produces a speeding of C-type inactivation, while pretreatment with the α-EGFr slows C-type inactivation. In contrast, insulin does not influence C-type inactivation kinetics. Mutational analysis indicates that the EGF-induced modulation of the inactivation rate occurs by a mechanism different from that of the EGF-induced decrease in peak current. Thus, receptor tyrosine kinases differentially modulate the current magnitude and kinetics of a voltage-dependent potassium channel.

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