A role for frequenin, a Ca2+-binding protein, as a regulator of Kv4 K+-currents

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Oct 23;98(22):12808-13. doi: 10.1073/pnas.221168498. Epub 2001 Oct 16.


Frequenin, a Ca(2+)-binding protein, has previously been implicated in the regulation of neurotransmission, possibly by affecting ion channel function. Here, we provide direct evidence that frequenin is a potent and specific modulator of Kv4 channels, the principal molecular components of subthreshold activating A-type K(+) currents. Frequenin increases Kv4.2 current amplitudes (partly by enhancing surface expression of Kv4.2 proteins) and it slows the inactivation time course in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner. It also accelerates recovery from inactivation. Closely related Ca(2+)-binding proteins, such as neurocalcin and visinin-like protein (VILIP)-1 have no such effects. Specificity for Kv4 currents is suggested because frequenin does not modulate Kv1.4 or Kv3.4 currents. Frequenin has negligible effects on Kv4.1 current inactivation time course. By using chimeras made from Kv4.2 and Kv4.1 subunits, we determined that the differential effects of frequenin are mediated by means of the Kv4 N terminus. Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrates that frequenin and Kv4.2 channel proteins are coexpressed in similar neuronal populations and have overlapping subcellular localizations in brain. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments demonstrate that a physical interaction occurs between these two proteins in brain membranes. Together, our data provide strong support for the concept that frequenin may be an important Ca(2+)-sensitive regulatory component of native A-type K(+) currents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry
  • COS Cells
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / analysis
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Neurocalcin
  • Neuronal Calcium-Sensor Proteins
  • Neuropeptides
  • Potassium Channels / analysis
  • Potassium Channels / drug effects*
  • Potassium Channels / physiology
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated*
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing*
  • Shal Potassium Channels
  • Xenopus Proteins*
  • Xenopus laevis


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Kcnd1 protein, mouse
  • Kcnd2 protein, mouse
  • Kcnd3 protein, mouse
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neurocalcin
  • Neuronal Calcium-Sensor Proteins
  • Neuropeptides
  • Potassium Channels
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing
  • Shal Potassium Channels
  • Vsnl1 protein, mouse
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • frequenin calcium sensor proteins
  • Calcium