Original Article

The residue I257 at S4–S5 linker in KCNQ1 determines KCNQ1/KCNE1 channel sensitivity to 1-alkanols

Chang XIE, Hao-wen LIU, Na PAN, Jiu-ping DING, Jing YAO
DOI: 10.1038/aps.2015.133


Aim: KCNQ1 and KCNE1 form a complex in human ventricular cardiomyocytes, which are important in maintaining a normal heart rhythm. In the present study we investigated the effects of a homologous series of 1-alkanols on KCNQ1/KCNE1 channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes.
Methods: ECG recording was made in rats injected with ethanol-containing solution (0.3 mL, ip). Human KCNQ1 channel and its auxiliary subunit KCNE1 were heterologously coexpressed in Xenopus oocytes, which were superfused with ND96 solution; 1-alkanols (ethanol, 1-butanol and 1-hexanol) were delivered through a gravity-driven perfusion device. The slow-delayed rectifier potassium currents IKs (KCNQ1/KCNE1 currents) were recorded using a two-electrode voltage clamp method. Site-directed mutations (I257A) were made in KCNQ1.
Results: In ECG recordings, a low concentration of ethanol (3%, v/v) slightly increased the heart rate of rats, whereas the higher concentrations of ethanol (10%, 50%, v/v) markedly reduced it. In oocytes coexpressing KCNQ1/KCNE1 channels, ethanol, 1-butanol and 1-hexanol dose-dependently inhibited IKs currents with IC50 values of 80, 11 and 2.7 mmol/L, respectively. Furthermore, the 1-alkanols blocked the KCNQ1 channel in both open and closed states, and a four-state model could adequately explain the effects of 1-alkanols on the closed-state channel block. Moreover, the mutation of I257A at the intracellular loop between S4 and S5 in KCNQ1 greatly decreased the sensitivity to 1-alkanols; and the IC50 values of ethanol, 1-butanol and 1-hexanol were increased to 634, 414 and 7.4 mmol/L, respectively. The mutation also caused the ablation of closed-state channel block.
Conclusion: These findings provide new insight into the intricate mechanisms of the blocking effects of ethanol on the KCNQ1 channel.
Keywords: KCNQ1; KCNE1; IKs current; ethanol; 1-butanol; 1-hexanol; closed-state channel block; open channel block

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