Sigma1 receptors (Sigma1R) are intracellular chaperone proteins that bind psychotropic drugs and also clinically used drugs such as ketamine and haloperidol. Co-expression of the Sigma1R has been reported to enhance the sensitivity of several voltage-gated ion channels to Sigma1R ligands. Kv1.3 is the predominant voltage-gated potassium channel expressed in T lymphocytes with a documented role in immune activation. To gain a better understanding of Sigma1R modulation of Kv ion channels, we investigated the effects of Sigma1R co-expression on Kv1.3 physiology and pharmacology in ion channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes. We also explored the protein domains of Kv1.3 necessary for protein:protein interaction between Kv1.3 and Sigma1R through co-immunoprecipitation studies. Slowly inactivating outward-going currents consistent with Kv1.3 expression were elicited on step depolarizations. The current characterized by Erev, V1/2, and slope factor remained unchanged when co-expressed with Sigma1R. Analysis of inactivation time constant revealed a faster Kv1.3 current decay when co-expressed with Sigma1R. However the sensitivity to Sigma1R ligands remained unaltered when co-expressed with the Sigma1R in contrast to the previously reported modulation of ligand sensitivity in closely related Kv1.4 and Kv1.5 voltage gated potassium channels. Co-immunoprecipitation assays of various Kv1.3 truncation constructs indicated that the transmembrane domain of the Kv1.3 protein was responsible for the protein:protein interaction with the Sigma1R. Sigma1R likely interacts with different domains of Kv ion channel family proteins resulting in distinct modulation of different channels.
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