The voltage-dependent K+ channel Kv1.3 (also known as KCNA3), which plays crucial roles in leukocytes, physically interacts with KCNE4. This interaction inhibits the K+ currents because the channel is retained within intracellular compartments. Thus, KCNE subunits are regulators of K+ channels in the immune system. Although the canonical interactions of KCNE subunits with Kv7 channels are under intensive investigation, the molecular determinants governing the important Kv1.3– KCNE4 association in the immune system are unknown. Our results suggest that the tertiary structure of the C-terminal domain of Kv1.3 is necessary and sufficient for such an interaction. However, this element is apparently not involved in modulating Kv1.3 gating. Furthermore, the KCNE4-dependent intracellular retention of the channel, which negatively affects the activity of Kv1.3, is mediated by two independent and additive mechanisms. First, KCNE4 masks the YMVIEE signature at the C-terminus of Kv1.3, which is crucial for the surface targeting of the channel. Second, we identify a potent endoplasmic reticulum retention motif in KCNE4 that further limits cell surface expression. Our results define specific molecular determinants that play crucial roles in the physiological function of Kv1.3 in leukocytes.
The authors declare no competing or financial interests.
A.F. and M.M.T. conceived and supervised the present study. R.R.-M. provide reagents and tools. L.S., S.R.R., A.S.-A. and A.V.-G. performed the experiments and analyzed the data. A.F. and L.S. wrote the manuscript. All authors contributed to the interpretation and commented on the manuscript.
Supported by the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MINECO), Spain (BFU2014-54928-R and BFU2015-70067-REDC) and Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER). This work was also supported by the National Institutes of Health (R01GM84136, R01GM084136S1 and R01GM109888-01 to M.M.T.). L.S., S.R.R. and A.V.-G. hold a fellowship from the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MINECO) and A.S.-A. from Generalitat de Catalunya. R.M.-M. was supported by the Juan de la Cierva program (MINECO). Deposited in PMC for release after 12 months.
Supplementary information available online at http://jcs.biologists.org/lookup/doi/10.1242/jcs.191650.supplemental
- Received April 30, 2016.
- Accepted September 29, 2016.
- © 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd