The role of intermediate (IK)and small (SK) conductance, Ca -activated K+ channels have been unequivocally demonstrated in the endothelial-dependent relaxation of vascular smooth muscle. Both IK and SK channels are activated during agonist- and flow-induced vasodilation as well as in the presence of increased reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are associated with virtually all cardiovascular disease. The expression of these channels in endothelia has also been shown to be compromised following balloon angioplasty. Finally, these channels are known to be critical to EDHF-mediated vasodilation, which is compromised in a host of cardiovascular diseases. These results have led to the proposal that the pharmacological activation of endothelial IK and SK channels would be of clinical benefit in a wide array of cardiovascular diseases. Our laboratory was the first to identify a series of structurally similar pharmacological openers of IK and SK channels. To further define the role of IK and SK channels in endothelial function and how they may be pharmacologically manipulated for clinical benefit requires us to answer two critical unknowns. First, how do ROS alter IK and SK channel function and therefore endothelial function? Second, what is the molecular mechanism of action for the known openers of IK and SK channels? Thus, we propose the following aims: (i) Define the mechanisms involved in the reactive oxygen species-dependent regulation of IK and SK channels. We will utilize a combination of patch-clamp and mutagenesis techniques to define the mechanisms whereby oxidizing agents activate IK and SK channels. These studies will be carried out on both heterologously expressed channels as well as on primary cultures of endothelial cells, (ii) We will define the molecular mechanism whereby pharmacological activators of IK and SK channels increase channel activity. These studies will be carried out utilizing a combination of patch-clamp and mutagenesis techniques, (iii)We will utilize FRET to define inter- and intra-subunit domain interactions in IK and SK channels and how physiological and pharmacological regulators of channel function modify these interactions. Defining how these interactions are altered is critical to our understanding of how these channels are regulated during the inflammatory process and how they may be manipulated pharmacologically. The results of these studies will clearly define the mechanism whereby ROS activate endothelial IK and SK channels, and thus alter vascular tone, as well as define the molecular mechanism underlying pharmacological activation of these channels; thereby furthering our understanding of how these channels may be manipulated for therapeutic benefit.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Electrical Signaling, Ion Transport, and Arrhythmias Study Section (ESTA)
Program Officer
Goldman, Stephen
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Pittsburgh
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Hamilton, Kirk L; Devor, Daniel C (2012) Basolateral membrane K+ channels in renal epithelial cells. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 302:F1069-81
Balut, Corina M; Hamilton, Kirk L; Devor, Daniel C (2012) Trafficking of intermediate (KCa3.1) and small (KCa2.x) conductance, Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channels: a novel target for medicinal chemistry efforts? ChemMedChem 7:1741-55
Millership, Joanne E; Devor, Daniel C; Hamilton, Kirk L et al. (2011) Calcium-activated K+ channels increase cell proliferation independent of K+ conductance. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 300:C792-802
Balut, Corina M; Loch, Christian M; Devor, Daniel C (2011) Role of ubiquitylation and USP8-dependent deubiquitylation in the endocytosis and lysosomal targeting of plasma membrane KCa3.1. FASEB J 25:3938-48
Bailey, Mark A; Grabe, Michael; Devor, Daniel C (2010) Characterization of the PCMBS-dependent modification of KCa3.1 channel gating. J Gen Physiol 136:367-87
Balut, Corina M; Gao, Yajuan; Murray, Sandra A et al. (2010) ESCRT-dependent targeting of plasma membrane localized KCa3.1 to the lysosomes. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 299:C1015-27
Balut, Corina M; Gao, Yajuan; Luke, Cliff et al. (2010) Immunofluorescence-based assay to identify modulators of the number of plasma membrane KCa3.1 channels. Future Med Chem 2:707-13
Gao, Yajuan; Balut, Corina M; Bailey, Mark A et al. (2010) Recycling of the Ca2+-activated K+ channel, KCa2.3, is dependent upon RME-1, Rab35/EPI64C, and an N-terminal domain. J Biol Chem 285:17938-53
Gao, Yajuan; Chotoo, Cavita K; Balut, Corina M et al. (2008) Role of S3 and S4 transmembrane domain charged amino acids in channel biogenesis and gating of KCa2.3 and KCa3.1. J Biol Chem 283:9049-59
Jones, Heather M; Bailey, Mark A; Baty, Catherine J et al. (2007) An NH2-terminal multi-basic RKR motif is required for the ATP-dependent regulation of hIK1. Channels (Austin) 1:80-91

Showing the most recent 10 out of 11 publications