Protein Synthesis and Degradation
- Protein trafficking can act as the primary regulatory mechanism for ion channels with high open probabilities, such as the renal outer medullary (ROMK) channel. ROMK, also known as Kir1.1 (KCNJ1), is the major route for potassium secretion into the pro-urine and plays an indispensable role in regulating serum potassium and urinary concentrations. However, the cellular machinery that regulates ROMK trafficking has not been fully defined. To identify regulators of the cell-surface population of ROMK, we expressed a pH-insensitive version of the channel in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
- Type II Bartter syndrome is caused by mutations in the renal outer medullary potassium (ROMK) channel, but the molecular mechanisms underlying this disease are poorly defined. To rapidly screen for ROMK function, we developed a yeast expression system and discovered that yeast cells lacking endogenous potassium channels could be rescued by WT ROMK but not by ROMK proteins containing any one of four Bartter mutations. We also found that the mutant proteins were significantly less stable than WT ROMK.
- Recent genome-wide studies found that patients with hypotonia, developmental delay, intellectual disability, congenital anomalies, characteristic facial dysmorphic features, and low cholesterol levels suffer from Kaufman oculocerebrofacial syndrome (KOS, also reported as blepharophimosis-ptosis-intellectual disability syndrome). The primary cause of KOS is autosomal recessive mutations in the gene UBE3B. However, to date, there are no studies that have determined the cellular or enzymatic function of UBE3B.