Large conductance calcium-activated potassium (BK(Ca)) channels are fundamental in the regulation of cerebral vascular basal tone. We investigated the expression of the mRNA transcripts for the BK(Ca) channel and its modulatory beta-subunits (beta1-beta4) in porcine basilar and middle cerebral arteries using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and quantitative real-time PCR. Western blotting was used to detect immunoreactivity for the porcine BK(Ca) channel alpha-subunit and beta-subunit proteins. The BK(Ca) channel alpha-subunit RNA and protein distribution patterns were visualized using in situ hybridization and immunofluorescence studies, respectively. The study verified that the BK(Ca) channel alpha-subunit is located to smooth muscle cells of porcine basilar and middle cerebral arteries. The mRNA transcript for beta1-, beta2- and beta4-subunit were shown by RT-PCR in porcine basilar and middle cerebral arteries. However, at the protein level, only, the beta1-subunit protein was found by western blotting.
Journal of Molecular Histology (print Edition), 2009, Vol 40, Issue 2, p. 87-97