Acute Activation of Maxi-K Channels (hSlo) by Estradiol Binding to the β Subunit

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Science  17 Sep 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5435, pp. 1929-1931
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5435.1929

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Maxi-K channels consist of a pore-forming α subunit and a regulatory β subunit, which confers the channel with a higher Ca2+ sensitivity. Estradiol bound to the β subunit and activated the Maxi-K channel (hSlo) only when both α and β subunits were present. This activation was independent of the generation of intracellular signals and could be triggered by estradiol conjugated to a membrane-impenetrable carrier protein. This study documents the direct interaction of a hormone with a voltage-gated channel subunit and provides the molecular mechanism for the modulation of vascular smooth muscle Maxi-K channels by estrogens.

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