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The potassium voltage-gated channel subfamily H member 2 (KCNH2) gene encodes the Kv11.1 potassium channel, which conducts the rapidly activating delayed rectifier current in the heart. KCNH2 pre-mRNA undergoes alternative polyadenylation and forms a functional, full-length Kv11.1a isoform if exon 15 is polyadenylated or a nonfunctional, C-terminally truncated Kv11.1a-USO isoform if intron 9 is polyadenylated. The molecular mechanisms that regulate Kv11.1 isoform expression are poorly understood. In this study, using HEK293 cells and reporter gene expression, pulldown assays, and RNase protection assays, we identified the RNA-binding proteins Hu antigen R (HuR) and Hu antigen D (HuD) as regulators of Kv11.1 isoform expression. We show that HuR and HuD inhibit activity at the intron 9 polyadenylation site. When co-expressed with the KCNH2 gene, HuR and HuD increased levels of the Kv11.1a isoform and decreased the Kv11.1a-USO isoform in the RNase protection assays and immunoblot analyses. In patch clamp experiments, HuR and HuD significantly increased the Kv11.1 current. siRNA-mediated knockdown of HuR protein decreased levels of the Kv11.1a isoform and increased those of the Kv11.1a-USO isoform. Our findings suggest that the relative expression levels of Kv11.1 C-terminal isoforms are regulated by the RNA-binding HuR and HuD proteins.


This research was originally published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Author(s). Regulation of Kv11.1 potassium channel C-terminal isoform expression by the RNA-binding proteins HuR and HuD. J. Biol. Chem. 2018; 293(51):19624-19632. © the Author(s).