Small-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ (SK) channels are voltage-independent and are activated by Ca2+ binding to the calmodulin constitutively associated with the channels. Both the pore-forming subunits and the associated calmodulin are subject to phosphorylation. Here, we investigated the modulation of different SK channel subtypes by phosphorylation, using the cultured endothelial cells as a tool. We report that casein kinase 2 (CK2) negatively modulates the apparent Ca2+ sensitivity of SK1 and IK channel subtypes by more than 5-fold, whereas the apparent Ca2+ sensitivity of the SK3 and SK2 subtypes is only reduced by ∼2-fold, when heterologously expressed on the plasma membrane of cultured endothelial cells. The SK2 channel subtype exhibits limited cell surface expression in these cells, partly as a result of the phosphorylation of its C-terminus by cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA). SK2 channels expressed on the ER and mitochondria membranes may protect against cell death. This work reveals the subtype-specific modulation of the apparent Ca2+ sensitivity and subcellular localization of SK channels by phosphorylation in cultured endothelial cells.
Nam Y-W, Kong D, Wang D, et al. Differential modulation of SK channel subtypes by phosphorylation. Cell Calcium. 2021;94:102346. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ceca.2020.102346
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