LRRC52 (leucine-rich-repeat-containing protein 52), a testis-specific auxiliary subunit of the alkalization-activated Slo3 channel

Chengtao Yang, Xu Hui Zeng, Yu Zhou, Xiao Ming Xia, Christopher J. Lingle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


KSper, a pH-dependent K + current in mouse spermatozoa that is critical for fertility, is activated by alkalization in the range of pH 6.4-7.2 at membrane potentials between -50 and 0 mV. Although the KSper pore-forming subunit is encoded by the Slo3 gene, heterologously expressed Slo3 channels are largely closed at potentials negative to 0 mV at physiological pH. Here we identify a Slo3-associating protein, LRRC52 (leucine-rich repeat-containing 52), that shifts Slo3 gating into a range of voltages and pH values similar to that producing KSper current activation. Message for LRRC52, a homolog of the Slo1-modifying LRRC26 protein, is enriched in testis relative to other homologous LRRC subunits and is developmentally regulated in concert with that for Slo3. LRRC52 protein is detected only in testis. It is markedly diminished from Slo3 -/- testis and completely absent from Slo3 -/- sperm, indicating that LRRC52 expression is critically dependent on the presence of Slo3. We also examined the ability of other LRRC subunits homologous to LRRC26 and LRRC52 to modify Slo3 currents. Although both LRRC26 and LRRC52 are able to modify Slo3 function, LRRC52 is the stronger modifier of Slo3 function. Effects of other related subunits were weaker or absent. We propose that LRRC52 is a testis-enriched Slo3 auxiliary subunit that helps define the specific alkalization dependence of KSper activation. Together, LRRC52 and LRRC26 define a new family of auxiliary subunits capable of critically modifying the gating behavior of Slo family channels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19419-19424
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number48
StatePublished - Nov 29 2011


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