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The electrically silent (KvS) members of the voltage-gated potassium (Kv) subfamilies Kv5, Kv6, Kv8, and Kv9 selectively modulate Kv2 subunits by forming heterotetrameric Kv2/KvS channels. Based on the reported 3:1 stoichiometry of Kv2.1/Kv9.3 channels, we tested the hypothesis that Kv2.1/Kv6.4 channels express, in contrast to the assumed 3:1, in a 2:2 stoichiometry. We investigate the Kv2.1/Kv6.4 stoichiometry using single subunit counting and functional characterization of tetrameric concatemers. For selecting the most probable stoichiometry, we introduce a model-selection method that is applicable for any multimeric complex by investigating the stoichiometry of Kv2.1/Kv6.4 channels. Weighted likelihood calculations bring rigor to a powerful technique. Using the weighted-likelihood model-selection method and analysis of electrophysiological data, we show that Kv2.1/Kv6.4 channels express, in contrast to the assumed 3:1, in a 2:2 stoichiometry. Within this stoichiometry, the Kv6.4 subunits have to be positioned alternating with Kv2.1 to express functional channels. The variability in Kv2/KvS assembly increases the diversity of heterotetrameric configurations and extends the regulatory possibilities of KvS by allowing the presence of more than one silent subunit.


Lena Möller, Glenn Regnier, Alain J Labro, Rikard Blunck, Dirk J Snyders. Determining the correct stoichiometry of Kv2.1/Kv6.4 heterotetramers, functional in multiple stoichiometrical configurations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2020 Apr 28;117(17):9365-9376

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PMID: 32284408

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