Posttranslational modification of voltage-dependent potassium channel Kv1.5: COOH-terminal palmitoylation modulates its biological properties

Hitesh K. Jindal, Eduardo J. Folco, Gong Xin Liu, Gideon Koren

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The physiological function of ion channels is affected by protein-protein and protein-membrane interactions that modulate their activity and/or localization. Palmitoylation modulates protein function by facilitating targeted membrane association, interaction with other proteins, and determining subcellular localization. In this study, we demonstrate that the voltage-dependent potassium (Kv) channel Kv1.5 is palmitoylated and that the mutation of COOH-terminal cysteines is sufficient to abolish the palmitoylation of the Kv1.5 polypeptide in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. The labeling represented the thioester linkage of the labeled palmitic acid to cysteine rather than amide and oxygen ester linkages as judged by the release of the palmitic acid upon the treatment of the gel with hydroxylamine at a neutral pH. Site-directed mutagenesis and radiolabeling studies revealed that C593 was the sole site of palmitoylation. The elucidation of the biological function of palmitoylation revealed that the expression of the FLAG-Kv1.5 palmitoylation-deficient mutant (FL-Kv1.5Palm-) in stable CHO cells increased membrane expression as determined by the biotinylation of surface proteins and quantitative immunofluorescence analyses of these cells, in turn enhancing the outward potassium current. This enhanced surface expression and the currents were consequential to the slower rate of internalization, causing an increased localization of FL-Kv1.5Palm- in the plasma membrane compared with the wild-type FL-Kv1.5 channels. We conclude that the Kv1.5 channel is palmitoylated and that its palmitoylation modulates its biological functions and, therefore, might provide a physiological link between the metabolic state and the expression of Kv1.5 on the plasma membrane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H2012-H2021
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes


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