The KCNE gene family codes for five transmembrane accessory proteins, "minK related peptides" or Mirps, involved in the modification of voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channels, K+ selective pores vital in the regulation of membrane potential and repolarization in all organisms. In mammals, all five KCNE gene members are conserved and active in the heart. In the zebrafish Danio rerio, there are no apparent orthologs for KCNE2 or KCNE5, yet they contain Kv channels with homologous structure, function, and Mirp regulatory behavior to other organisms. Sequence analysis of wildtype zebrafish KCNE1, 3 and 4, and rtPCR on RNA from zebrafish tissues to assess adult expression led to the identification of the Mirps in zebrafish and a depiction of their expression patterns. Specifically, zebrafish were phylogenetically identified as homologs to KCNE1 and KCNE4 from other species and KCNE1 and KCNE3 cDNA showed expression in wildtype adult zebrafish heart tissue, implicating that MinK, Mirp2, and Mirp3 play active roles in the regulation of voltage-gated potassium channels in zebrafish, Danio rerio.
Vernlund, Lauren, "Characterization of Expression of the KCNE Gene Family in Zebrafish, Danio rerio" (2011). Honors Theses. 15.