KCNE4 juxtamembrane region is required for interaction with calmodulin and for functional suppression of KCNQ1

Erin J. Ciampa, Richard C. Welch, Carlos G. Vanoye, Alfred L. George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Voltage-gated potassium (KV) channels, such as KCNQ1 (K V7.1), are modulated by accessory subunits and regulated by intracellular second messengers. Accessory subunits belonging to the KCNE family exert diverse functional effects on KCNQ1, have been implicated in the pathogenesis of various genetic disorders of heart rhythm, and contribute to transducing intracellular signaling events into changes in KV channel activity. We investigated the interactions between calmodulin (CaM), the ubiquitous Ca2+-transducing protein that binds and confers Ca 2+ sensitivity to the biophysical properties of KCNQ1, and KCNE4. These studies were motivated by the observed similarities between the suppression of KCNQ1 function by pharmacological disruption of KCNQ1-CaM interactions and the effects of KCNE4 co-expression on the channel. We determined that KCNE4, but not KCNE1, can biochemically interact with CaM and that this interaction is Ca2+-dependent and requires a tetraleucine motif in the juxtamembrane region of the KCNE4 C terminus. Furthermore, disruption of the KCNE4-CaM interaction either by mutagenesis of the tetraleucine motif or by acute Ca2+ chelation impairs the ability of KCNE4 to inhibit KCNQ1. Our findings have potential relevance to KCNQ1 regulation both by KCNE accessory subunits and by an important intracellular signaling molecule.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4141-4149
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 11 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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