Ionic channel expression is highly regulated during mitogenesis. But it is not clear whether these regulations only follow intrinsic programs during the course of the cell cycle or if they also depend upon the external factors used to promote cell activation. B lymphocytes express two classes of potassium channels and can be stimulated to enter the cell cycle by distinct pathways. Thus, we have analyzed, with the patch-clamp technique, if the expression of channels varies when the cells are activated by different signals that lead to cell proliferation. We found that stimulation through Ag receptors increases the expression of calcium- and voltage-activated potassium channels, whereas a bacterial mitogen, LPS, only enhances the expression of the latter. Moreover, channel expression can still be modified in proliferating cells because stimulation of LPS-activated cells through Ag receptors induces rapid expression of calcium-activated channels. The use of inhibitors of mRNA synthesis revealed that this process depends upon gene transcription. Thus, differential induction of the expression of potassium channels is not only linked to the entry into the cell cycle but depends also on pathways of stimulation.

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