Differential Protein Kinase C-Dependent Modulation of Kv7.4 and Kv7.5 Subunits of Vascular Kv7 Channels [Molecular Biophysics]

December 2nd, 2013 by Brueggemann, L. I., Mackie, A. R., Cribbs, L. L., Freda, J., Tripathi, A., Majetschak, M., Byron, K. L.

The Kv7 family (Kv7.1-7.5) of voltage-activated potassium channels contributes to the maintenance of resting membrane potential in excitable cells. Previously, we provided pharmacological and electrophysiological evidence that Kv7.4 and Kv7.5 form predominantly heteromeric channels and that Kv7 activity is regulated by protein kinase C (PKC) in response to vasoconstrictors in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). Direct evidence for Kv7.4/7.5 heteromer formation, however, is lacking. Furthermore, it remains to be determined whether both subunits are regulated by PKC. Utilizing proximity ligation assays to visualize single molecule interactions, we now show that Kv7.4/Kv.7.5 heteromers are endogenously expressed in VSMCs. Introduction of dominant negative Kv7.4 and Kv7.5 subunits in mesenteric artery myocytes reduced endogenous Kv7 currents by 84% and 76%, respectively. Expression of an inducible protein kinase C alpha (PKCĪ±) translocation system revealed that PKCĪ± activation is sufficient to suppress endogenous Kv7 currents in A7r5 rat aortic and mesenteric artery smooth muscle cells. Arginine vasopressin (AVP: 100 pM and 500 pM) and the PKC activator phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA, 1nM) each inhibited human (h) Kv7.5 and hKv7.4/7.5, but not hKv7.4 channels expressed in A7r5 cells. A decrease in hKv7.5 and hKv7.4/7.5 current densities was associated with an increase in PKC-dependent phosphorylation of the channel proteins. These findings provide further evidence for a differential regulation of Kv7.4 and Kv7.5 channel subunits by PKC-dependent phosphorylation and new mechanistic insights into the role of heteromeric subunit assembly for regulation of vascular Kv7 channels.