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Open Access research with a European policy impact...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the European Policies Research Centre (EPRC).

EPRC is a leading institute in Europe for comparative research on public policy, with a particular focus on regional development policies. Spanning 30 European countries, EPRC research programmes have a strong emphasis on applied research and knowledge exchange, including the provision of policy advice to EU institutions and national and sub-national government authorities throughout Europe.

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A cysteine-rich motif confers hypoxia sensitivity to mammalian large conductance voltage- and Ca-activated K (BK) channel alpha-subunits

McCartney, Claire E. and McClafferty, Heather and Huibant, Jean-Marc and Rowan, Edward.G. and Shipston, Michael J. and Rowe, Iain C.M. (2005) A cysteine-rich motif confers hypoxia sensitivity to mammalian large conductance voltage- and Ca-activated K (BK) channel alpha-subunits. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102 (49). pp. 17870-17876. ISSN 0027-8424

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Abstract

Cellular responses to hypoxia are tissue-specific and dynamic. However, the mechanisms that underlie this differential sensitivity to hypoxia are unknown. Large conductance voltage- and Ca-activated K (BK) channels are important mediators of hypoxia responses in many systems. Although BK channels are ubiquitously expressed, alternative pre-mRNA splicing of the single gene encoding their pore-forming alpha-subunits provides a powerful mechanism for generating functional diversity. Here, we demonstrate that the hypoxia sensitivity of BK channel alpha-subunits is splice-variant-specific. Sensitivity to hypoxia is conferred by a highly conserved motif within an alternatively spliced cysteine-rich insert, the stress-regulated exon (STREX), within the intracellular C terminus of the channel. Hypoxic inhibition of the STREX variant is Ca-sensitive and reversible, and it rapidly follows the change in oxygen tension by means of a mechanism that is independent of redox or CO regulation. Hypoxia sensitivity was abolished by mutation of the serine (S24) residue within the STREX insert. Because STREX splice-variant expression is tissue-specific and dynamically controlled, alternative splicing of BK channels provides a mechanism to control the plasticity of cellular responses to hypoxia.