Indexed on: 21 Jun '01Published on: 21 Jun '01Published in: Cellular Immunology
The IsK protein associates with KvLQT1 potassium channels to generate the slow component of the outward rectifying K(+) current involved in human cardiac repolarization. Mutations in either KCNE1 (encoding IsK) or KCNQ1 (encoding KvLQT1) genes have been associated with the long QT syndrome, a genetic disorder leading to prolonged cardiac repolarization and sudden death. We now report that the IsK protein is also involved in mature T cell homeostasis. In KCNE1 gene knockout mice, we observed a significant increase in the T cell compartment. Thymus and peripheral lymphoid organs of KCNE1-/- mice displayed a significant increase in mature T cells. The immunological phenotype of KCNE1-/- is age-dependent and only expressed in adult mice. Both IsK and KvLQT1 mRNA are expressed in murine thymus. Our data suggest that, in addition to its role in myocardial repolarization, the IsK-KvLQT1 tandem also plays a crucial role in T cell homeostasis.