Delayed rectifying K(+) channel, I(Ks), plays a vital role in normal and arrhythmogenic heart. I(Ks) is modulated by PKC but the identity of which PKC isozymes is involved in this modulation is not known. To dissect the role of individual PKC isozymes in the regulation of I(Ks), human cardiac I(Ks) channel (minK+KvLQT1) was expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Peptide PKC isozyme-specific activator and inhibitors, in addition to the general PKC activator, PMA, were used. Whole-cell I(Ks) was recorded using two-electrode voltage clamp technique. PMA and epsilon PKC specific activator peptide, but not the inactive analog, 4alphaPDD, significantly increased I(Ks). Peptide specific inhibitors for beta(II)PKC, and a general PKC inhibitor, calphostin C antagonized PMA-induced activation of I(Ks). However, control peptide, pentalysine, and specific inhibitor peptide for alphaPKC, beta(I)PKC, deltaPKC, or etaPKC did not alter PMA effect on I(Ks). The present study demonstrates that beta(II)PKC, epsilon PKC but not beta(I)PKC, alphaPKC, deltaPKC, and etaPKC, are involved in PMA-induced activation of the cloned human I(Ks) expressed in Xenopus oocyte. Furthermore, this is the first report to dissect the fine functional role of beta(II)PKC and beta(I)PKC in the regulation of I(Ks). Identification of the particular isozyme(s) that mediates the regulation of I(Ks) channels is of importance for the understanding of the mechanism of ion channel regulation and the development of new therapeutic agents.