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Published July 1988 | public
Journal Article

Multiple Products of the Drosophila Shaker Gene May Contribute to Potassium Channel Diversity


K+ channels are known through electrophysiology and pharmacology to be an exceptionally diverse group of channels. Molecular studies of the Shaker (Sh) locus in Drosophila have provided the first glimpse of K+ channel structure. The sequences of several Sh cDNA clones have been reported; none are identical. We have isolated and examined 18 additional Sh cDNAs in an attempt to understand the origin, extent, and significance of the variability. The diversity is extensive: we have already identified cDNAs representing at least nine distinct types, and Sh could potentially encode 24 or more products. This diversity, however, fits a simple pattern in which variable 3′ and 5′ ends are spliced onto a central constant region to yield different cDNA types. These different Sh cDNAs encode proteins with distinct structural features.

Additional Information

© 1988 Cell Press. Received February 29, 1988; revised May 27, 1988. We thank M. Gautam, L. Iverson, M. Mathew, M. Ramaswami, and B. Rudy for helpful discussions and R. McMahon for technical assistance. This research was supported by the Pfeiffer Research Foundation and by USPHS grant NS21327-01 to M. A. T. J. T.-C. was supported by NIH training grant NS07251. M. A. T. is a McKnight Foundation Scholar and a Sloan Foundation Fellow.

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