Structural determinants of KvLQT1 control by the KCNE family of proteins.
KvLQT1 is a Shaker-like voltage-gated potassium channel that when complexed with minK (KCNE1) produces the slowly activating delayed rectifier I(ks). The emerging family of KCNE1-related peptides includes KCNE1 and KCNE3, both of which complex with KvLQT1 to produce functionally distinct currents. Namely I(ks), the slowly activating delayed rectifier current, is produced by KvLQT1/KCNE1, whereas KvLQT1/KCNE3 yields a more rapidly activating current with a distinct constitutively active component. We exploited these functional differences and the general structural similarities of KCNE1 and KCNE3 to study which physical regions are critical for control of KvLQT1 by making chimerical constructs of KCNE1 and KCNE3. By using this approach, we have found that a three-amino acid stretch within the transmembrane domain is necessary and sufficient to confer specificity of control of activation kinetics by KCNE1 and KCNE3. Moreover, chimera analysis showed that different regions within the transmembrane domain control deactivation rates. Our results help to provide a basis for understanding the mechanism by which KCNE proteins control K(+) channel activity.