The human Kv1.1 channel is palmitoylated, modulating voltage sensing: Identification of a palmitoylation consensus sequence

Rose A. Gubitosi-Klug, David J. Mancuso, Richard W. Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Voltage-dependent K+ channels rely on precise dynamic protein interactions with surrounding plasma membrane lipids to facilitate complex processes such as voltage sensing and channel gating. Many transmembrane- spanning proteins use palmitoylation to facilitate dynamic membrane interactions. Herein, we demonstrate that the human Kv1.1 ion channel is palmitoylated in the cytosolic portion of the S2-S3 linker domain at residue C243. Through heterologous expression of the human Kv1.1 protein in Sf9 cells, covalent radiolabeling with [3H]palmitate, chemical stability studies of the [3H]-palmitoylated protein, and site-directed mutagenesis, C243 was identified as the predominant site of palmitoylation. The functional sequelae of palmitoylation were examined by analysis of whole cell currents from WT and mutant channels, which identified a 20-mV leftward shift in the current-voltage relationship when palmitoylation at C243 (but not with other cysteine deletions) is prevented by site-directed mutagenesis, implicating a role for palmitoylated C243 in modulating voltage sensing through protein-membrane interactions. Database searches identified an amino acid palmitoylation consensus motif (ACP/RSKT) that is present in multiple other members of the Shaker subfamily of K+ channels and in several other unrelated regulatory proteins (e.g., CD36, nitric oxide synthase type 2, and the mannose-6 phosphate receptor) that are known to be palmitoylated by thioester linkages at the predicted consensus site cysteine residue. Collectively, these results (i) identify palmitoylation as a mechanism for K+ channel interactions with plasma membrane lipids contributing to electric field-induced conformational alterations, and ii) define an amino acid consensus sequence for protein palmitoylation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5964-5968
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 26 2005


  • Fatty acid
  • Ion channels
  • K channel
  • Membrane potential


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