Elife 11 (-) - [2022-06-01; online 2022-06-01]
The KV7.4 and KV7.5 subtypes of voltage-gated potassium channels play a role in important physiological processes such as sound amplification in the cochlea and adjusting vascular smooth muscle tone. Therefore, the mechanisms that regulate KV7.4 and KV7.5 channel function are of interest. Here, we study the effect of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) on human KV7.4 and KV7.5 channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes. We report that PUFAs facilitate activation of hKV7.5 by shifting the V50 of the conductance versus voltage (G(V)) curve toward more negative voltages. This response depends on the head group charge, as an uncharged PUFA analogue has no effect and a positively charged PUFA analogue induces positive V50 shifts. In contrast, PUFAs inhibit activation of hKV7.4 by shifting V50 toward more positive voltages. No effect on V50 of hKV7.4 is observed by an uncharged or a positively charged PUFA analogue. Thus, the hKV7.5 channel's response to PUFAs is analogous to the one previously observed in hKV7.1-7.3 channels, whereas the hKV7.4 channel response is opposite, revealing subtype-specific responses to PUFAs. We identify a unique inner PUFA interaction site in the voltage-sensing domain of hKV7.4 underlying the PUFA response, revealing an unconventional mechanism of modulation of hKV7.4 by PUFAs.