Molecular cloning and characterization of LKv1, a novel voltage-gated potassium channel in leech

Jamie L. Weiss, Jay Yang, Chunfa Jie, Diana L. Walker, Shawn Ahmed, Yunxia Zhu, Yueqiao Huang, Kristen M. Johansen, Joørgen Johansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We have cloned a novel voltage-gated K channel, LKv1, in two species of leech. The properties of LKv1 expressed in transiently transfected HEK293 cells is that of a delayed rectifier current. LKv1 may be a major modulator of excitability in leech neurons, since antibody localization studies show that LKv1 is expressed in the soma and axons of all neurons in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Comparison of the biophysical and pharmacological properties of LKv1 with native voltage-gated conductances in leech neurons suggests that LKv1 may correspond to the previously characterized delayed rectifier current, I(K). Phylogenetic analysis of LKv1 shows that it is related to the Shaker subfamily of voltage-gated K channels although it occupies a separate branch from that of the monophyletic Shaker clade composed of the flatworm, Aplysia, Drosophila, and mammalian Shaker homologs as well as from that of two recently identified Shaker-related K channels in jellyfish. Thus, this analysis indicates that this group of voltage-gated K channels contains several evolutionarily divergent lineages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-299
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neurobiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Immunocytochemistry
  • K channels
  • Leech
  • Phylogeny
  • Shaker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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