KCNQ1 encodes the ? subunit of the voltage-gated channel that mediates the cardiac slow delayed rectifier K(+) current (IKs). Here, we report a KCNQ1 allele encoding an A590T mutation [KCNQ1(A590T)] found in a 39-year-old female with a mild QT prolongation. A590 is located in the C-terminal ? helical region of KCNQ1 that mediates subunit tetramerization, membrane trafficking, and interaction with Yotiao. This interaction is known to be required for the proper modulation of IKs by cAMP. Since previous studies reported that mutations in the vicinity of A590 impair IKs channel surface expression and function, we examined whether and how the A590T mutation affects the IKs channel. Electrophysiological measurements in HEK-293T cells showed that the A590T mutation caused a reduction in IKs density and a right-shift of the current-voltage relation of channel activation. Immunocytochemical and immunoblot analyses showed the reduced cell surface expression of KCNQ1(A590T) subunit and its rescue by coexpression of the wild-type KCNQ1 [KCNQ1(WT)] subunit. Moreover, KCNQ1(A590T) subunit interacted with Yotiao and had a cAMP-responsiveness comparable to that of KCNQ1(WT) subunit. These findings indicate that the A590 of KCNQ1 subunit plays important roles in the maintenance of channel surface expression and function via a novel mechanism independent of interaction with Yotiao.
A mutation of KCNQ1 gene encoding the alpha subunit of the channel mediating the slow delayed rectifier K(+) current in cardiomyocytes may cause severe arrhythmic disorders. We identified KCNQ1(Y461X), a novel mutant gene encoding KCNQ1 subunit whose C-terminal domain is truncated at tyrosine 461 from a man with a mild QT interval prolongation. We made whole-cell voltage-clamp recordings from HEK-293T cells transfected with either of wild-type KCNQ1 [KCNQ1(WT)], KCNQ1(Y461X), or their mixture plus KCNE1 auxiliary subunit gene. The KCNQ1(Y461X)-transfected cells showed no delayed rectifying current. The cells transfected with both KCNQ1(WT) and KCNQ1(Y461X) showed the delayed rectifying current that is thought to be mediated largely by homomeric channel consisting of KCNQ1(WT) subunit because its voltage-dependence of activation, activation rate, and deactivation rate were similar to the current in the KCNQ1(WT)-transfected cells. The immunoblots of HEK-293T cell-derived lysates showed that KCNQ1(Y461X) subunit cannot form channel tetramers by itself or with KCNQ1(WT) subunit. Moreover, immunocytochemical analysis in HEK-293T cells showed that the surface expression level of KCNQ1(Y461X) subunit was very low with or without KCNQ1(WT) subunit. These findings suggest that the massive loss of the C-terminal domain of KCNQ1 subunit impairs the assembly, trafficking, and function of the mutant subunit-containing channels, whereas the mutant subunit does not interfere with the functional expression of the homomeric wild-type channel. Therefore, the homozygous but not heterozygous inheritance of KCNQ1(Y461X) might cause major arrhythmic disorders. This study provides a new insight into the structure-function relation of KCNQ1 channel and treatments of cardiac channelopathies.
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