ATP-sensitive K+ (KATP) channels are oligomeric complexes of pore-forming Kir6 subunits and regulatory Sulfonylurea Receptor (SUR) subunits. SUR, an ATP-Binding Cassette (ABC) transporter, confers Mg-nucleotide stimulation to the channel via nucleotide interactions with its two cytoplasmic domains (Nucleotide Binding Folds 1 and 2; NBF1 and NBF2). Regulation of KATP channel expression is a complex process involving subunit assembly in the ER, SUR glycosylation in the Golgi, and trafficking to the plasma membrane. Dysregulation can occur at different steps of the pathway, as revealed by disease-causing mutations. Here, we have addressed the role of SUR1 NBF1 in gating and expression of reconstituted channels. Deletion of NBF1 severely impairs channel expression and abolishes MgADP stimulation. Total SUR1 protein levels are decreased, suggestive of increased protein degradation, but they are not rescued by treatment with sulfonylureas or the proteasomal inhibitor MG-132. Similar effects of NBF1 deletion are observed in recombinant KATP channels obtained by splitting SUR1 into two separate polypeptides (a N-terminal half and a C-terminal half). Interestingly, the location of the splitting point in the vicinity of NBF1 has marked effects on the MgADP stimulation of resulting channels. Finally, ablation of the ER retention motif upstream of NBF1 (in either split or full-length SUR1) does not rescue expression of channels lacking NBF1. These results indicate that, in addition to NBF1 being required for MgADP stimulation of the channel, it plays an important role in the regulation of channel expression that is independent of the ER retention checkpoint and the proteasomal degradation pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-323
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007


  • ABC transporter
  • NBF1
  • Split constructs
  • Sulfonylurea receptor


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