Cell Physiology

Episodic ataxia type 1 mutation F184C alters Zn2+-induced modulation of the human K+ channel Kv1.4-Kv1.1/Kvβ1.1

Paola Imbrici, Maria Cristina D'Adamo, Antonella Cusimano, Mauro Pessia


Episodic ataxia type 1 (EA1) is a Shaker-like channelopathy characterized by continuous myokymia and attacks of imbalance with jerking movements of the head, arms, and legs. Although altered expression and gating properties of Kv1.1 channels underlie EA1, several disease-causing mechanisms remain poorly understood. It is likely that Kv1.1, Kv1.4, and Kvβ1.1 subunits form heteromeric channels at hippocampal mossy fiber boutons from which Zn2+ ions are released into the synaptic cleft in a Ca2+-dependent fashion. The sensitivity of this macromolecular channel complex to Zn2+ is unknown. Here, we show that this heteromeric channel possesses a high-affinity (<10 μM) and a low-affinity (<0.5 mM) site for Zn2+, which are likely to regulate channel availability at distinct presynaptic membranes. Furthermore, the EA1 mutation F184C, located within the S1 segment of the Kv1.1 subunit, markedly decreased the equilibrium dissociation constants for Zn2+ binding to the high- and low-affinity sites. The functional characterization of the Zn2+ effects on heteromeric channels harboring the F184C mutation also showed that this ion significantly 1) slowed the activation rate of the channel, 2) increased the time to reach peak current amplitude, 3) decreased the rate and amount of current undergoing N-type inactivation, and 4) slowed the repriming of the channel compared with wild-type channels. These results demonstrate that the EA1 mutation F184C will not only sensitize the homomeric Kv1.1 channel to extracellular Zn2+, but it will also endow heteromeric channels with a higher sensitivity to this metal ion. During the vesicular release of Zn2+, its effects will be in addition to the intrinsic gating defects caused by the mutation, which is likely to exacerbate the symptoms by impairing the integration and transmission of signals within specific brain areas.

  • shaker channel gating
  • episodic ataxia type 1
  • Xenopus laevis cocytes
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