RNAs encoding a wild-type (RBK1) and a mutant (RBK1(Y379V,V381 T); RBK1*) subunit of voltage-dependent potassium channels were injected into Xenopus oocytes. When expressed separately, they made homotetrameric channels that differed about 100-fold in sensitivity to tetraethylammonium (TEA). Mixtures of channels having one, two, or three low affinity subunits were expressed by injecting various proportions of RBK1 and RBK1* RNAs. The affinity for TEA of these three channel species was deduced by fitting concentration-response curves for the inhibition of potassium currents. DNAs were also concatenated to construct a sequence that encoded two connected subunits, and channels that contained four, two, or no TEA-sensitive subunits were expressed. The results suggest that bound TEA interacts simultaneously with all four subunits.
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