Angiotensin II reduces the surface abundance of KV1.5 channels in arterial myocytes to stimulate vasoconstriction

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Smooth muscle cells (myocytes) of resistance-size arteries express several different voltage-dependent K+ (KV) channels, including KV1.5 and KV2.1, which regulate contractility. Myocyte KV currents are inhibited by vasoconstrictors, including angiotensin II (Ang II), but the mechanisms involved are unclear. Here, we tested the hypothesis that Ang II inhibits KV currents by reducing the plasma membrane abundance of KV channels in myocytes. Angiotensin II (applied for 2 h) reduced surface and total KV1.5 protein in rat mesenteric arteries. In contrast, Ang II did not alter total or surface KV2.1, or KV1.5 or KV2.1 cellular distribution, measured as the percentage of total protein at the surface. Bisindolylmaleimide (BIM; a protein kinase C blocker), a protein kinase C inhibitory peptide or bafilomycin A (a lysosomal degradation inhibitor) each blocked the Ang II-induced decrease in total and surface KV1.5. Immunofluorescence also suggested that Ang II reduced surface KV1.5 protein in isolated myocytes; an effect inhibited by BIM. Arteries were exposed to Ang II or Ang II plus BIM (for 2 h), after which these agents were removed and contractility measurements performed or myocytes isolated for patch-clamp electrophysiology. Angiotensin II reduced both whole-cell KV currents and currents inhibited by Psora-4, a KV1.5 channel blocker. Angiotensin II also reduced vasoconstriction stimulated by Psora-4 or 4-aminopyridine, another KV channel inhibitor. These data indicate that Ang II activates protein kinase C, which stimulates KV1.5 channel degradation, leading to a decrease in surface KV1.5, a reduction in whole-cell KV1.5 currents and a loss of functional KV1.5 channels in myocytes of pressurized arteries.

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