Preterm births accounts for roughly 9% of all births worldwide and can have detrimental or even lethal consequences for the infant. However to develop new treatment that will lower the rate of preterm births, more knowledge is required on the factors contributing to the contraction and relaxation of the myometrium. The small conductance Ca²?-activated potassium channel subtype 3 (SK3) has been identified in the myometrium of several species including humans, mice and rats, but with great inter species variation of the expression pattern and regulation. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of SK3 in the uterus of rats stimulated with 17?-estradiol and progesterone in order to get an in depth understanding of the rat uterine SK3. Using immunohistochemistry SK3 was localized to the glandular and luminal endometrial lamina epitheliali. Furthermore, a weak signal was observed in the myometrium. Using Western blot the protein level of SK3 was found to increase in uteri from animals treated with 17?-estradiol, an effect that was not reflected at the mRNA level. The levels of mRNA for SK3 were significantly lower in the uterus of 17?-estradiol-treated animals than in the uterus of ovariectomized animals. We conclude that the SK channels are present in the endometrial epithelium, and possibly also in the myometrium of the rat uterus. Furthermore, the hormonal effect on SK3 caused by 17?-estradiol includes divergent regulation at mRNA and protein levels.
The big conductance calcium-activated K(+) channel (BK) is involved in regulating neuron and smooth muscle cell excitability. Functional diversity of BK is generated by alpha-subunit splice variation and co-expression with beta subunits. Here, we present six different splice combinations cloned from rat brain or cerebral vascular/meningeal tissues, of which at least three variants were previously uncharacterized (X1, X2(92), and X2(188)). An additional variant was identified by polymerase chain reaction but not cloned. Expression in Xenopus oocytes showed that the brain-specific X1 variant displays reduced current, faster activation, and less voltage sensitivity than the insert-less Zero variant. Other cloned variants Strex and Slo27,3 showed slower activation than Zero. The X1 variant contains sequence inserts in the S1-S2 extracellular loop (8 aa), between intracellular domains RCK1 and RCK2 (4 aa at SS1) and upstream of the calcium "bowl" (27 aa at SS4). Two other truncated variants, X2(92) and X2(188), lacking the intracellular C-terminal (stop downstream of S6), were cloned from cerebral vascular/meningeal tissue. They appear non-functional as no current expression was observed, but the X2(92) appeared to slow the activation of the Zero variant when co-expressed. Positive protein expression of X2(92) was observed in oocytes by immunoblotting and fluorescence using a yellow fluorescent protein-tagged construct. The functional characteristics of the X1 variant may be important for a subpopulation of BK channels in the brain, while the "silent" truncated variants X2(92) and X2(188) may play a role as modulators of other BK channel variants in a way similar to well known beta subunits.
This work demonstrates that extracellular Na(+) modulates the cloned inwardly rectifying K(+) channels Kir4.1 and Kir4.1-Kir5.1. Whole-cell patch clamp studies on astrocytes have previously indicated that inward potassium currents are regulated by external Na(+). We expressed Kir4.1 and Kir4.1-Kir5.1 in Xenopus oocytes to disclose if Kir4.1 and/or Kir4.1-Kir5.1 at the molecular level are responsible for the observed effect of [Na(+)](o) and to investigate the regulatory mechanism of external cations further. Our results showed that Na(+) has a biphasic modulatory effect on both Kir4.1 and Kir4.1-Kir5.1 currents. Depending on the Na(+)-concentration and applied voltage, the inward Kir4.1/Kir4.1-Kir5.1 currents are either enhanced or reduced by extracellular Na(+). The Na(+) activation was voltage-independent, whereas the Na(+)-induced reduction of the Kir4.1 and Kir4.1-Kir5.1 currents was both concentration-, time- and voltage-dependent. Our data indicate that the biphasic effect of extracellular Na(+)on the Kir4.1 and Kir4.1-Kir5.1 channels is caused by two separate mechanisms.
Large conductance calcium-activated potassium (BK(Ca)) channels contribute to electrical impulses, proper signal transmission of information and regulation of neurotransmitter release. Migraine has been proposed to be a trigeminovascular disease involving the sensory trigeminal pathways and the cerebral arteries. We hypothesize that BK(Ca) channel alpha- and beta-subunits are present in the rat and porcine trigeminal ganglion (TG) thus enabling a role in migraine. BK(Ca) channel mRNA was detected using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and in situ hybridization. BK(Ca) channel protein was visualized by western blotting and histochemistry. The presence of the modulatory beta1-beta 4 subunit mRNAs was investigated using RT-PCR. beta1-, beta2- and beta 4-subunit mRNAs were expressed in rat TG whereas beta2- and beta 4-subunits were detected in porcine TG. Western blotting revealed beta2- and beta 4-subunit proteins in rat and porcine TG. The present study showed BK(Ca) channel expression in rat and porcine TG. The main modulatory beta-subunits detected in TG of both species were beta2- and beta 4-subunits.
Large conductance calcium-activated potassium (BK(Ca)) channels are fundamental in the regulation of cerebral vascular basal tone. We investigated the expression of the mRNA transcripts for the BK(Ca) channel and its modulatory beta-subunits (beta1-beta4) in porcine basilar and middle cerebral arteries using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and quantitative real-time PCR. Western blotting was used to detect immunoreactivity for the porcine BK(Ca) channel alpha-subunit and beta-subunit proteins. The BK(Ca) channel alpha-subunit RNA and protein distribution patterns were visualized using in situ hybridization and immunofluorescence studies, respectively. The study verified that the BK(Ca) channel alpha-subunit is located to smooth muscle cells of porcine basilar and middle cerebral arteries. The mRNA transcript for beta1-, beta2- and beta4-subunit were shown by RT-PCR in porcine basilar and middle cerebral arteries. However, at the protein level, only, the beta1-subunit protein was found by western blotting.
The K+ channels Kir4.1 and Kir4.1-Kir5.1 are expressed in the glial cells of the CNS and are involved in regulation of the K+ homeostasis. Several studies have shown that Kir4.1 channels are co-localized with aquaporins (AQP4) in the glial endfeet, and a putative functional coupling between the Kir channels and aquaporins is therefore debated. To test a possible volume-sensitivity of the Kir channels, the Kir4.1 or Kir4.1-Kir5.1 channels were expressed in Xenopus oocytes with or without co-expression of aquaporins and subsequently exposed to cell volume alterations. Our results show an increase in Kir4.1 and Kir4.1-Kir5.1 currents upon swelling of the oocytes and a reduction in the current when the oocytes were shrunk. The volume-dependent changes in channel activity were not due to changes in the kinetics of the channels. These findings implicate a putative functional interaction between the Kir channels and aquaporins via small, fast cell volume changes in the glial cells.
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