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The voltage-dependent and Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channel (MaxiK, BK) and the cellular proto-oncogene pp60(c-Src) (c-Src) are abundant proteins in vascular smooth muscle. The role of MaxiK channels as a vasorelaxing force is well established, but their role in vasoconstriction is unclear. Because Src participates in regulating vasoconstriction, we investigated whether c-Src inhibits MaxiK as a mechanism for agonist-induced vasoconstriction. Functional experiments in human and rat show that inhibitors of Src (Lavendustin A, PP2) but not inactive compounds (Lavendustin B, PP3) induce a pronounced relaxation of coronary or aortic smooth muscle precontracted with 5-hydroxytriptamine, phenylephrine, or Angiotensin II. Iberiotoxin, a MaxiK blocker, antagonizes the relaxation induced by Lavendustin A or PP2, indicating that c-Src inhibits the Iberiotoxin-sensitive component, likely MaxiK channels. In agreement, coronary muscle MaxiK currents were enhanced by Lavendustin A. To investigate the molecular mechanism of c-Src action on MaxiK channels, we transiently expressed its alpha subunit, hSlo, with or without c-Src in HEK293T cells. The voltage sensitivity of hSlo was right-shifted by approximately 16 mV. hSlo inhibition by c-Src is due to channel direct phosphorylation because: (i) excised patches exposed to protein tyrosine phosphatase (CD45) resulted in a partial reversal of the inhibitory effect by approximately 10 mV, and (ii) immunoprecipitated hSlo channels were recognized by an anti-phosphotyrosine Ab. Furthermore, coexpression of hSlo and c-Src demonstrate a striking colocalization in HEK293T cells. We propose that MaxiK channels via direct c-Src-dependent phosphorylation play a significant role supporting vasoconstriction after activation of G protein-coupled receptors by vasoactive substances and neurotransmitters.


Copyright © 2002, The National Academy of Sciences. Original published version available at

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America





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