Cellular physiology and biochemistry : international journal of experimental cellular physiology, biochemistry, and pharmacology

Characterization of the σ-Pore in Mutant hKv1.3 Potassium Channels.

PMID 29669325


The replacement of the amino acid valine at position 388 (Shaker position 438) in hKv1.3 channels or at the homologue position 370 in hKv1.2 channels resulted in a channel with two different ion conducting pathways: One pathway was the central, potassium-selective α-pore, that was sensitive to block by peptide toxins (CTX or KTX in the hKv1.3_V388C channel and CTX or MTX in the hKv1.2_V370C channel). The other pathway (σ-pore) was behind the central α-pore creating an inward current at potentials more negative than -100 mV, a potential range where the central α-pore was closed. In addition, current through the σ-pore could not be reduced by CTX, KTX or MTX in the hKv1.3_V388C or the hKv1.2_V370C channel, respectively. For a more detailed characterization of the σ-pore, we created a trimer consisting of three hKv1.3_V388C α-subunits linked together and characterized current through this trimeric hKv1.3_V388C channel. Additionally, we determined which amino acids line the σ-pore in the tetrameric hKv1.3_V388C channel by replacing single amino acids in the tetrameric hKv1.3_V388C mutant channel that could be involved in σ-pore formation. Overexpression of the trimeric hKv1.3_V388C channel in COS-7 cells yielded typical σ-pore currents at potentials more negative than -100 mV similar to what was observed for the tetrameric hKv1.3_V388C channel. Electrophysiological properties of the trimeric and tetrameric channel were similar: currents could be observed at potentials more negative than -100 mV, were not carried by protons or chloride ions, and could not be reduced by peptide toxins (CTX, MTX) or TEA. The σ-pore was mostly permeable to Na+ and Li+. In addition, in our site-directed mutagenesis experiments, we created a number of new double mutant channels in the tetrameric hKv1.3_V388C background channel. Two of these tetrameric double mutant channels (hKv1.3_V388C_T392Y and hKv1.3_V388C_Y395W) did not show currents through the σ-pore. From our experiments with the trimeric hKv1.3_V388C channel we conclude that the σ-pore exists in hKv1.3_V388C channels independently of the α-pore. From our site-directed mutagenesis experiments in the tetrameric hKv1.3_V388C channel we conclude that amino acid position 392 and 395 (Shaker position 442 and 445) line the σ-pore.