Transcriptional control of Ca2+-activated K+ channel expression: Identification of a second, evolutionarily conserved, neuronal promoter

Rudolf A. Bohm, Bin Wang, Robert Brenner, Nigel S. Atkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Neuronal signaling properties are largely determined by the quantity and combination of ion channels expressed. The Drosophila slowpoke gene encodes a Ca2+-activated K+ channel used throughout the nervous system. The slowpoke transcriptional control region is large and complex. To simplify the search for sequences responsible for tissue-specific expression, we relied on evolutionary conservation of functionally important sequences. A number of conserved segments were found between two Drosophila species. One led us to a new 5' exon and a new transcriptional promoter: Promoter C0. In larvae and adults, Promoter C0 was demonstrated to be neural-specific using flies transformed with reporter genes that either contain or lack the promoter. The transcription start site of Promoter CO was mapped, and the exon it appends to the 5' end of the mRNA was sequenced. This is the second neural-specific slowpoke promoter to be identified, the first being Promoter C1. Promoter choice does not alter the encoded polypeptide sequence. RNAase protection assays indicate that Promoter CO transcripts are approximately 12 times more abundant that Promoter C1 transcripts. Taken together, these facts suggest that promoter choice may be a means for cells to control channel density.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)693-704
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1 2000


  • Ca-activated K channel
  • Drosophila hydei
  • Drosphila melanogaster
  • Ion channel regulation
  • Neuronal promoter
  • Signalling
  • Slowpoke
  • Transcriptional control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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