The voltage-gated K+ channel (Kv) pore forming α subunit, ERG1 (KCNH2), has been identified as the locus of mutations in one type of inherited long QT syndrome, LQT2. Heterologous expression of ERG1 reveals rapidly activating and inactivating K+ currents, characterized by marked inward rectification at potentials positive to 0 mV, which are similar to the rapid component of cardiac delayed rectification IKr. There are, however, marked differences in the properties of expressed ERG1 and endogenous cardiac IKr, suggesting that functional IKr channels reflect the coassembly of full-length ERG1 with splice variants and /or accessory subunits. Consistent with these hypotheses, N- and C-terminal variants of ERG1 have been identified, and it has been demonstrated that heterologously expressed ERG1 and minK (or MiRP1) coimmunoprecipitate. Recent biochemical studies, however, suggest that only full-length ERG1 is expressed in adult mouse, rat, or human heart. Clearly, further studies, focused on identifying the subunits that coassemble with ERG1 in vivo, as well as on post-translational processing of the full-length ERG1 protein will be necessary to define the molecular composition of functional cardiac IKr channels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-294
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Cardiovascular Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001


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