Incorporation of DPP6a and DPP6K variants in ternary Kv4 channel complex reconstitutes properties of A-type K current in rat cerebellar granule cells

PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e38205. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038205. Epub 2012 Jun 4.


Dipeptidyl peptidase-like protein 6 (DPP6) proteins co-assemble with Kv4 channel α-subunits and Kv channel-interacting proteins (KChIPs) to form channel protein complexes underlying neuronal somatodendritic A-type potassium current (I(SA)). DPP6 proteins are expressed as N-terminal variants (DPP6a, DPP6K, DPP6S, DPP6L) that result from alternative mRNA initiation and exhibit overlapping expression patterns. Here, we study the role DPP6 variants play in shaping the functional properties of I(SA) found in cerebellar granule (CG) cells using quantitative RT-PCR and voltage-clamp recordings of whole-cell currents from reconstituted channel complexes and native I(SA) channels. Differential expression of DPP6 variants was detected in rat CG cells, with DPP6K (41 ± 3%)>DPP6a (33 ± 3%)>>DPP6S (18 ± 2%)>DPP6L (8 ± 3%). To better understand how DPP6 variants shape native neuronal I(SA), we focused on studying interactions between the two dominant variants, DPP6K and DPP6a. Although previous studies did not identify unique functional effects of DPP6K, we find that the unique N-terminus of DPP6K modulates the effects of KChIP proteins, slowing recovery and producing a negative shift in the steady-state inactivation curve. By contrast, DPP6a uses its distinct N-terminus to directly confer rapid N-type inactivation independently of KChIP3a. When DPP6a and DPP6K are co-expressed in ratios similar to those found in CG cells, their distinct effects compete in modulating channel function. The more rapid inactivation from DPP6a dominates during strong depolarization; however, DPP6K produces a negative shift in the steady-state inactivation curve and introduces a slow phase of recovery from inactivation. A direct comparison to the native CG cell I(SA) shows that these mixed effects are present in the native channels. Our results support the hypothesis that the precise expression and co-assembly of different auxiliary subunit variants are important factors in shaping the I(SA) functional properties in specific neuronal populations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing / genetics
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cerebellum / cytology*
  • Conserved Sequence / genetics
  • Cytoplasmic Granules / enzymology*
  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidases and Tripeptidyl-Peptidases / chemistry
  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidases and Tripeptidyl-Peptidases / genetics
  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidases and Tripeptidyl-Peptidases / metabolism*
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Ion Channel Gating / physiology*
  • Kinetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism*
  • Protein Isoforms / chemistry
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Shal Potassium Channels / metabolism*
  • Xenopus laevis


  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Protein Isoforms
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Shal Potassium Channels
  • DPP6 protein, rat
  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidases and Tripeptidyl-Peptidases