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Proteomic Analysis of the Functional Inward Rectifier Potassium Channel (Kir) 2.1 Reveals Several Novel Phosphorylation Sites

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posted on 2021-10-22, 11:37 authored by Kyle A. Brown, Corey Anderson, Louise Reilly, Kunal Sondhi, Ying Ge, Lee L. Eckhardt
Membrane proteins represent a large family of proteins that perform vital physiological roles and represent key drug targets. Despite their importance, bioanalytical methods aiming to comprehensively characterize the post-translational modification (PTM) of membrane proteins remain challenging compared to other classes of proteins in part because of their inherent low expression and hydrophobicity. The inward rectifier potassium channel (Kir) 2.1, an integral membrane protein, is critical for the maintenance of the resting membrane potential and phase-3 repolarization of the cardiac action potential in the heart. The importance of this channel to cardiac physiology is highlighted by the recognition of several sudden arrhythmic death syndromes, Andersen–Tawil and short QT syndromes, which are associated with loss or gain of function mutations in Kir2.1, often triggered by changes in the β-adrenergic tone. Therefore, understanding the PTMs of this channel (particularly β-adrenergic tone-driven phosphorylation) is important for arrhythmia prevention. Here, we developed a proteomic method, integrating both top-down (intact protein) and bottom-up (after enzymatic digestion) proteomic analyses, to characterize the PTMs of recombinant wild-type and mutant Kir2.1, successfully mapping five novel sites of phosphorylation and confirming a sixth site. Our study provides a framework for future work to assess the role of PTMs in regulating Kir2.1 functions.

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