An evolutionarily conserved dileucine motif in Shal K+ channels mediates dendritic targeting

Nat Neurosci. 2003 Mar;6(3):243-50. doi: 10.1038/nn1020.


The molecular mechanisms underlying polarized sorting of proteins in neurons are poorly understood. Here we report the identification of a 16 amino-acid, dileucine-containing motif that mediates dendritic targeting in a variety of neuronal cell types in slices of rat brain. This motif is present in the carboxy (C) termini of Shal-family K+ channels and is highly conserved from C. elegans to humans. It is necessary for dendritic targeting of potassium channel Kv4.2 and is sufficient to target the axonally localized channels Kv1.3 and Kv1.4 to the dendrites. It can also mediate dendritic targeting of a non-channel protein, CD8.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs / genetics
  • Amino Acid Motifs / physiology
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • CD8 Antigens / genetics
  • CD8 Antigens / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Dendrites / metabolism*
  • Endocytosis
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kv1.3 Potassium Channel
  • Kv1.4 Potassium Channel
  • Leucine
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Potassium Channels / genetics
  • Potassium Channels / metabolism*
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated*
  • Protein Transport / physiology
  • Pyramidal Cells / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Shal Potassium Channels


  • CD8 Antigens
  • Kcna3 protein, rat
  • Kcna4 protein, rat
  • Kcnd2 protein, rat
  • Kv1.3 Potassium Channel
  • Kv1.4 Potassium Channel
  • Potassium Channels
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Shal Potassium Channels
  • Leucine