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Heteromeric KV2/KV8.2 Channels Mediate Delayed Rectifier Potassium Currents in Primate Photoreceptors

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Silent voltage-gated potassium channel subunits (KVS) interact selectively with members of the KV2 channel family to modify their functional properties. The localization and functional roles of these silent subunits remain poorly understood. Mutations in the KVS subunit, KV8.2 (KCNV2), lead to severe visual impairment in humans, but the basis of these deficits remains unclear. Here, we examined the localization, native interactions, and functional properties of KV8.2-containing channels in mouse, macaque, and human photoreceptors of either sex. In human retina, KV8.2 colocalized with KV2.1 and KV2.2 in cone inner segments and with KV2.1 in rod inner segments. KV2.1 and KV2.2 could be coimmunoprecipitated with KV8.2 in retinal lysates indicating that these subunits likely interact directly. Retinal KV2.1 was less phosphorylated than cortical KV2.1, a difference expected to alter the biophysical properties of these channels. Using voltage-clamp recordings and pharmacology, we provide functional evidence for Kv2-containing channels in primate rods and cones. We propose that the presence of KV8.2, and low levels of KV2.1 phosphorylation shift the activation range of KV2 channels to align with the operating range of rod and cone photoreceptors. Our data indicate a role for KV2/KV8.2 channels in human photoreceptor function and suggest that the visual deficits in patients with KCNV2 mutations arise from inadequate resting activation of KV channels in rod and cone inner segments.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Mutations in a voltage-gated potassium channel subunit, KV8.2, underlie a blinding inherited photoreceptor dystrophy, indicating an important role for these channels in human vision. Here, we have defined the localization and subunit interactions of KV8.2 channels in primate photoreceptors. We show that the KV8.2 subunit interacts with different Kv2 channels in rods and cones, giving rise to potassium currents with distinct functional properties. Our results provide a molecular basis for retinal dysfunction in patients with mutations in the KCNV2 gene encoding KV8.2.

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