ATP-sensitive inwardly rectifying potassium channels are expressed in a variety of tissues, including heart, skeletal, and smooth muscle, and pancreatic β-cells. Physiological and pharmacological studies suggest the presence of distinct KATP channels in these tissues. Recently, the KATP channel of β-cells has been reconstituted in functional form by coexpression of SUR, the sulfonylurea-binding protein, and the inwardly rectifying K+ channel subunit, KIR6.2. In this article, we describe the isolation of cDNAs encoding SUR-like proteins from mouse, SUR2A and SUR2B. Northern blotting showed that the highest expression of the SUR2 isoforms is in the heart and skeletal muscle, with lower levels in all other tissues. By reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, SUR2B is ubiquitously expressed, while the apparently alternatively spliced variant, SUR2A, is expressed exclusively in heart. In situ hybridization shows that the SUR2 isoforms are expressed in the parenchyma of the heart and skeletal muscle and in the vascular structures of other tissues. Human SUR2 was localized to chromosome 12, p12.1 by fluorescent in situ hybridization. The structure of the predicted protein and expression pattern of SUR2 suggests that it is the drug-binding channel-modulating subunit of the extrapancreatic KATP channel. Differences in sequence between SUR and between SUR2 isoforms may underlie the tissue-specific pharmacology of the KATP channel.

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