K+ channels containing Kv4.2 and Kv4.3 pore-forming subunits mediate most of the subthreshold-operating somatodendritic A-type K+ current in CNS neurons. These channels are believed to be important in regulating the frequency of repetitive firing, the backpropagation of action potential into dendrites, and dendritic integration and plasticity. Moreover, they have been implicated in several diseases from pain to epilepsy and autism spectrum disorders. The lack of toxins that specifically and efficiently block these channels has hampered studies aimed at confirming their functional role and their involvement in disease. AmmTX3 and other related members of the α-KTX15 family of scorpion toxins have been shown to block the A-type K+ current in cultured neurons, but their specificity has been questioned because the toxins do not efficiently block the currents mediated by Kv4.2 or Kv4.3 subunits expressed in heterologous cells. Here we show that the high-affinity blockade of Kv4.2 and Kv4.3 channels by AmmTX3 depends on the presence of the auxiliary subunits DPP6 and DPP10. These proteins are thought to be components of the Kv4 channel complex in neurons and to be important for channel expression in dendrites. These studies validate the use of AmmTX3 as a blocker of the Kv4-mediated A-type K+ current in neurons.
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