The regulation of trafficking and function of KCNQ1 potassium channels by phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate
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The IKs current constitutes part of the repolarisation reserve in the human myocardium, and whilst it does not play a major role at resting heart rates, it becomes a crucial component of repolarisation in the setting of increased sympathetic tone and high heart rates. The formation of the IKs current requires the KCNQ1 α-subunit and the KCNE1 β-subunit. Mutations in either of these subunits can lead to long QT syndrome types 1 and 5, respectively. Loss-of-function mutations in the IKs channel can reduce the repolarisation reserve and lead to action potential prolongation, predisposing to lethal cardiac arrhythmias such as torsades de pointes and ventricular fibrillation. It is widely recognised that the IKs channel requires the minor membrane phospholipid PIP2 for its function, and previous work in this laboratory found that mutations in a PIP2-binding region in KCNQ1 led to retention of the channel in the endoplasmic reticulum, suggesting that PIP2 may play a role in anterograde trafficking. Here, the rapamycin-inducible dimerisation system was used to manipulate levels of PIP2 and/or PI4P at the plasma membrane or Golgi, and the effect of this on IKs channel trafficking and function was investigated using molecular biology, confocal microscopy and electrophysiology. Despite difficulties with optimising the rapamycin-induced dimerisation system, it was observed that the IKs channel does not require PIP2 for anterograde trafficking, but is heavily reliant on PIP2 for channel opening. In addition, activation of the β1-adrenergic receptor (β 1-AR) led to an increase in the IKs current amplitude. The potential interplay between β1-AR and PIP2 signalling was also explored by depleting PIP2 during β1-AR stimulation. PIP2 depletion was less effective at inhibiting the IKs current during β1-AR stimulation, but this requires further investigation. In conclusion, the results suggest that the IKs channel is reliant on PIP2 for function, but not anterograde trafficking.
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