Multiple cell-signaling pathways converge to modulate large-conductance, voltage- and Ca2+-sensitive K+ channel (maxi-K channel) activity and buffer cell excitability in human myometrial smooth muscle cells (hMSMCs). Recent evidence indicates that maxi-K channel proteins can target to membrane microdomains; however, their association with other proteins within these macromolecular complexes has not been elucidated. Biochemical isolation of detergent-resistant membrane fractions from human myometrium demonstrates the presence of maxi-K channels in lipid raft microdomains, which cofractionate with caveolins. In both non-pregnant and late-pregnant myometrium, maxi-K channels associate and colocalize with caveolar scaffolding proteins caveolin-1 and caveolin-2, but not caveolin-3. Disruption of cultured hMSMC caveolar complexes by cholesterol depletion with cyclodextrin increases an iberiotoxin-sensitive K+ current. Coimmunoprecipitations have indicated that the maxi-K channel also is associated with both α- and γ-actin. Immunocytochemical analysis indicates colocalization of maxi-K channels, actin, and caveolin-1 in primary cultures of hMSMCs. Further experiments using immunoelectron microscopy have shown the proximity of both actin and the maxi-K channel within the same cell surface caveolar structures. Functionally, disruption of the actin cytoskeleton in cultured hMSMCs by cytochalasin D and latrunculin A greatly increased the open-state probability of the channel, while stabilization of actin cytoskeleton with jasplakinolide abolished the effect of latrunculin A. These data indicate that the actin cytoskeleton is involved as part of a caveolar complex in the regulation of myometrial maxi-K channel function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)C49-C57
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number1 58-1
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Membrane microdomain
  • Potassium channel


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