Bone morphogenetic protein-2 upregulates expression and function of voltage-gated K+ channels in human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells

Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2006 Nov;291(5):L993-1004. doi: 10.1152/ajplung.00191.2005. Epub 2006 Jun 30.


Activity of voltage-gated K(+) (K(V)) channels in pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PASMC) plays an important role in control of apoptosis and proliferation in addition to regulating membrane potential and pulmonary vascular tone. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in normal human PASMC, whereas dysfunctional BMP signaling and downregulated K(V) channels are involved in pulmonary vascular medial hypertrophy associated with pulmonary hypertension. This study evaluated the effect of BMP-2 on K(V) channel function and expression in normal human PASMC. BMP-2 (100 nM for 18-24 h) significantly (>2-fold) upregulated mRNA expression of KCNA5, KCNA7, KCNA10, KCNC3, KCNC4, KCNF1, KCNG3, KCNS1, and KCNS3 but downregulated (at least 2-fold) KCNAB1, KCNA2, KCNG2, and KCNV2. The most dramatic change was the >10-fold downregulation of KCNG2 and KCNV2, two electrically silent gamma-subunits that form heterotetramers with functional K(V) channel alpha-subunits (e.g., KCNB1-2). Furthermore, the amplitude and current density of whole cell K(V) currents were significantly increased in PASMC treated with BMP-2. It has been demonstrated that K(+) currents generated by KCNB1 and KCNG1 (or KCNG2) or KCNB1 and KCNV2 heterotetramers are smaller than those generated by KCNB1 homotetramers, indicating that KCNG2 and KCNV2 (2 subunits that were markedly downregulated by BMP-2) are inhibitors of functional K(V) channels. These results suggest that BMP-2 divergently regulates mRNA expression of various K(V) channel alpha-, beta-, and gamma-subunits and significantly increases whole cell K(V) currents in human PASMC. Finally, we present evidence that attenuation of c-Myc expression by BMP-2 may be involved in BMP-2-mediated increase in K(V) channel activity and regulation of K(V) channel expression. The increased K(V) channel activity may be involved in the proapoptotic and/or antiproliferative effects of BMP-2 on PASMC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 2
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / metabolism*
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / pharmacology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Gene Expression / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / metabolism
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / cytology
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / drug effects
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / physiology*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Potassium / metabolism
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated / genetics*
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated / metabolism*
  • Protein Subunits / genetics
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Artery / cytology
  • Pulmonary Artery / drug effects
  • Pulmonary Artery / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / pharmacology
  • Up-Regulation / physiology


  • BMP2 protein, human
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 2
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • MYC protein, human
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated
  • Protein Subunits
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Potassium