Presynaptic A-current based on heteromultimeric K+ channels detected in vivo

Nature. 1993 Sep 2;365(6441):72-5. doi: 10.1038/365072a0.


A wide variety of voltage-gated K+ channels are involved in the regulation of neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission. Their heterogeneity arises in part from the large number of genes encoding different K+ channel subunits (reviewed in ref. 1). In addition, heterologous expression studies indicate that assembly of distinct subunits into heteromultimeric channels may contribute further to K+ channel diversity. A question has been whether heteromeric K+ channels actually form in vivo, and if so, whether specific combinations of subunits could account for major K+ currents identified in neurons. We present here biochemical evidence that Kv1.4 and Kv1.2, two K+ channel subunits of the Shaker subfamily, co-assemble in rat brain. The Kv1.4/Kv1.2 heteromultimer combines features of both parent subunits, resulting in an A-type K+ channel. Immunocytochemical evidence suggests that the heteromultimers are localized in axons and nerve terminals. We propose that Kv1.4/Kv1.2 heteromultimers may form the molecular basis of a presynaptic A-type K+ channel involved in the regulation of neurotransmitter release.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Chromatography, Agarose
  • Electrophysiology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Potassium Channels / metabolism*
  • Precipitin Tests
  • Rats
  • Synapses / metabolism*


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Potassium Channels