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Fernández-Mariño AI, Valverde MA, Fernández-Fernández JM

BK channel activation by tungstate requires the β1 subunit extracellular loop residues essential to modulate voltage sensor function and channel gating.

Pflugers Arch.. 2014 Jul;466(7):1365-75, PMID: 24158430

Tungstate, a compound with antidiabetic, antiobesity, and antihypertensive properties, activates the large-conductance voltage- and Ca(2+)-dependent K(+) (BK) channel containing either β1 or β4 subunits. The BK activation by tungstate is Mg(2+)-dependent and promotes arterial vasodilation, but only in precontracted mouse arteries expressing β1. In this study, we further explored how the β1 subunit participates in tungstate activation of BK channels. Activation of heterologously expressed human BKαβ1 channels in inside-out patches is fully dependent on the Mg(2+) sensitivity of the BK α channel subunit even at high (10 μM) cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration. Alanine mutagenesis of β1 extracellular residues Y74 or S104, which destabilize the active voltage sensor, greatly decreased the tungstate-induced left-shift of the BKαβ1 G-V curves in either the absence or presence of physiologically relevant cytosolic Ca(2+) levels (10 μM). The weakened tungstate activation of the BKαβ1Y74A and BKαβ1S104A mutant channels was not related to decreased Mg(2+) sensitivity. These results, together with previously published reports, support the idea that the putative binding site for tungstate-mediated BK channel activation is located in the pore-forming α channel subunit, around the Mg(2+) binding site. The role of β1 in tungstate-induced channel activation seems to rely on its interaction with the BK α subunit to modulate channel activity. Loop residues that are essential for the regulation of voltage sensor activation and gating of the BK channel are also relevant for BK activation by tungstate.


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