SUMO modification regulates inactivation of the voltage-gated potassium channel Kv1.5

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Feb 6;104(6):1805-10. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0606702104. Epub 2007 Jan 29.


The voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channel Kv1.5 mediates the I(Kur) repolarizing current in human atrial myocytes and regulates vascular tone in multiple peripheral vascular beds. Understanding the complex regulation of Kv1.5 function is of substantial interest because it represents a promising pharmacological target for the treatment of atrial fibrillation and hypoxic pulmonary hypertension. Herein we demonstrate that posttranslational modification of Kv1.5 by small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) proteins modulates Kv1.5 function. We have identified two membrane-proximal and highly conserved cytoplasmic sequences in Kv1.5 that conform to established SUMO modification sites in transcription factors. We find that Kv1.5 interacts specifically with the SUMO-conjugating enzyme Ubc9 and is a target for modification by SUMO-1, -2, and -3 in vivo. In addition, purified recombinant Kv1.5 serves as a substrate in a minimal in vitro reconstituted SUMOylation reaction. The SUMO-specific proteases SENP2 and Ulp1 efficiently deconjugate SUMO from Kv1.5 in vivo and in vitro, and disruption of the two identified target motifs results in a loss of the major SUMO-conjugated forms of Kv1.5. In whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiological studies, loss of Kv1.5 SUMOylation, by either disruption of the conjugation sites or expression of the SUMO protease SENP2, leads to a selective approximately 15-mV hyperpolarizing shift in the voltage dependence of steady-state inactivation. Reversible control of voltage-sensitive channels through SUMOylation constitutes a unique and likely widespread mechanism for adaptive tuning of the electrical excitability of cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Humans
  • Kv1.5 Potassium Channel / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Kv1.5 Potassium Channel / genetics
  • Kv1.5 Potassium Channel / metabolism*
  • SUMO-1 Protein / metabolism
  • SUMO-1 Protein / physiology*
  • Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzymes / metabolism


  • Kv1.5 Potassium Channel
  • SUMO-1 Protein
  • Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzymes
  • ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme UBC9