Expression and localization of two-pore domain K+ channels in bovine germ cells

Chang Gi Hur, Changyong Choe, Gyu Tae Kim, Seong Keun Cho, Jae Yong Park, Seong Geun Hong, Jaehee Han, Dawon Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Two-pore domain K+ (K2P) channels that help set the resting membrane potential of excitable and nonexcitable cells are expressed in many kinds of cells and tissues. However, the expression of K2P channels has not yet been reported in bovine germ cells. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time that K2P channels are expressed in the reproductive organs and germ cells of Korean cattle. RT-PCR data showed that members of the K2P channel family, specifically KCNK3, KCNK9, KCNK2, KCNK10, and KCNK4, were expressed in the ovary, testis, oocytes, embryo, and sperm. Out of these channels, KCNK2 and KCNK4 mRNAs were abundantly expressed in the mature oocytes, eight-cell stage embryos, and blastocysts compared with immature oocytes. KCNK4 and KCNK3 were significantly increased in eight-cell stage embryos. Immunocytochemical data showed that KCNK2, KCNK10, KCNK4, KCNK3, and KCNK9 channel proteins were expressed at the membrane of oocytes and blastocysts. KCNK10 and KCNK4 were strongly expressed and distributed in oocyte membranes. These channel proteins were also localized to the acrosome sperm cap. In particular, KCNK3 and KCNK4 were strongly localized to the post-acrosomal region of the sperm head and the equatorial band within the sperm head respectively. These results suggest that K2P channels might contribute to the background K+ conductance of germ cells and regulate various physiological processes, such as maturation, fertilization, and development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-244
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Embryology
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Cell Biology


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