Combinatorial diversity of two-pore-domain k+ channels and its involvement in migraine

Abstract : Maintenance of a negative resting membrane potential underlies the basis of neuronal excitability. This negative potential is generated by a potassium leak current mediated by two-pore-domain potassium channels (K2P). Over the years, they have been shown to be involved in many physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms such as depression, neuroprotection, anesthesia, migraine and pain perception. Heteromultimerization is a mechanism commonly used to increase the functional diversity of protein complexes. For example, with 15 genes classified in 6 subfamilies, the K2P channel family can potentially generates 120 combinations and, in theory, each of them would show different functional properties. Here, we first investigated the ability of the members from the same K2P subfamily (TREK subfamily) to assemble and form functional heteromeric channels with novel properties. Using single molecule pulldown (SiMPull) from HEK cell lysates, subunit counting in the plasma membrane of living cells and opto-pharmacology, we show that the TREK channel members TREK1, TREK2, and TRAAK readily co-assemble. We functionally characterized the heterodimers and found that all combinations form outwardly rectifying potassium-selective channels but with variable voltage sensitivity and pH regulation. Having found that heteromerization is possible within the same subfamily we wonder if it can happen between members from different subfamilies with lower sequence homology and what could be the pathophysiological consequences. We found that TREK1 and TREK2 are able to heterodimerize with the distantly-related TRESK, a two-pore-domain K+ channel implicated in migraine. Notably, in humans, TRESK-MT, a 2 bp frameshift mutation (F139WfsX24), which induced the formation of TRESK-MT1 a dominant negative for TRESK, was found to perfectly segregate with typical migraine in a large pedigree. Strikingly, we found that the 2 bp frameshift mutation induced an alternative translation initiation (fsATI) which leads to the translation of a second TRESK fragment, termed TRESK-MT2. We show that by co-assembling with and inhibiting TREK1 and TREK2, TRESK-MT2 increases trigeminal sensory neuron excitability, a key component of migraine induction, leading to a migraine-like phenotype. Together these findings demonstrate that K2P heteromerization is not rare and needs to be considered to understand their pathophysiological functions and that genetic analysis of disease-related mutations should consider fsATI as a distinct class of mutations.
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Perrine Royal. Combinatorial diversity of two-pore-domain k+ channels and its involvement in migraine. Molecular biology. Université Côte d'Azur, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018AZUR4114⟩. ⟨tel-02177132⟩

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