Molecular cloning and functional expression of KCNQ5, a potassium channel subunit that may contribute to neuronal M-current diversity.
We have isolated KCNQ5, a novel human member of the KCNQ potassium channel gene family that is differentially expressed in subregions of the brain and in skeletal muscle. When expressed in Xenopus oocytes, KCNQ5 generated voltage-dependent, slowly activating K(+)-selective currents that displayed a marked inward rectification at positive membrane voltages. KCNQ5 currents were insensitive to the K(+) channel blocker tetraethylammonium but were strongly inhibited by the selective M-current blocker linopirdine. Upon coexpression with the structurally related KCNQ3 channel subunit, current amplitudes increased 4-5-fold. Compared with homomeric KCNQ5 currents, KCNQ3/KCNQ5 currents also displayed slower activation kinetics and less inward rectification, indicating that KCNQ5 combined with KCNQ3 to form functional heteromeric channel proteins. This functional interaction between KCNQ5 and KCNQ3, a component of the M-channel, suggests that KCNQ5 may contribute to a diversity of heteromeric channels underlying native neuronal M-currents.