Voltage-gated K+ channel beta subunits: expression and distribution of Kv beta 1 and Kv beta 2 in adult rat brain

J Neurosci. 1996 Aug 15;16(16):4846-60. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.16-16-04846.1996.


Recent cloning of K+ channel beta subunits revealed that these cytoplasmic polypeptides can dramatically alter the kinetics of current inactivation and promote efficient glycosylation and surface expression of the channel-forming alpha subunits. Here, we examined the expression, distribution, and association of two of these beta subunits, Kv beta 1 and Kv beta 2, in adult rat brain. In situ hybridization using cRNA probes revealed that these beta-subunit genes are heterogeneously expressed, with high densities of Kv beta 1 mRNA in the striatum, CA1 subfield of the hippocampus, and cerebellar Purkinje cells, and high densities of Kv beta 2 mRNA in the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, and brainstem. Immunohistochemical staining using subunit-specific monoclonal and affinity-purified polyclonal antibodies revealed that the Kv beta 1 and Kv beta 2 polypeptides frequently co-localize and are concentrated in neuronal perikarya, dendrites, and terminal fields, and in the juxtaparanodal region of myelinated axons. Immunoblot and reciprocal co-immunoprecipitation analyses indicated that Kv beta 2 is the major beta subunit present in rat brain membranes, and that most K+ channel complexes containing Kv beta 1 also contain Kv beta 2. Taken together, these data suggest that Kv beta 2 is a component of almost all K+ channel complexes containing Kv 1 alpha subunits, and that individual channels may contain two or more biochemically and functionally distinct beta-subunit polypeptides.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Base Sequence
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ion Channel Gating*
  • Molecular Probes / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Potassium Channels / genetics
  • Potassium Channels / physiology*
  • Precipitin Tests
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Molecular Probes
  • Potassium Channels
  • RNA, Messenger