Intermolecular functional coupling between phosphoinositides and the potassium channel KcsABiological membranes are composed of a wide variety of lipids. Phosphoinositides (PIPns) in the membrane inner leaflet only account for a small percentage of the total membrane lipids but modulate the functions of various membrane proteins, including ion channels, which play important roles in cell signaling. KcsA, a prototypical K+ channel that is small, simple, and easy to handle, has been broadly examined regarding its crystallography, in silico molecular analysis, and electrophysiology. It has been reported that KcsA activity is regulated by membrane phospholipids, such as phosphatidylglycerol.
A novel small-molecule selective activator of homomeric GIRK4 channelsG protein–sensitive inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK) channels are important pharmaceutical targets for neuronal, cardiac, and endocrine diseases. Although a number of GIRK channel modulators have been discovered in recent years, most lack selectivity. GIRK channels function as either homomeric (i.e., GIRK2 and GIRK4) or heteromeric (e.g., GIRK1/2, GIRK1/4, and GIRK2/3) tetramers. Activators, such as ML297, ivermectin, and GAT1508, have been shown to activate heteromeric GIRK1/2 channels better than GIRK1/4 channels with varying degrees of selectivity but not homomeric GIRK2 and GIRK4 channels.
GSK1702934A and M085 directly activate TRPC6 via a mechanism of stimulating the extracellular cavity formed by the pore helix and transmembrane helix S6Transient receptor potential canonical (TRPC) channels, as important membrane proteins regulating intracellular calcium (Ca2+i) signaling, are involved in a variety of physiological and pathological processes. Activation and regulation of TRPC are more dependent on membrane or intracellular signals. However, how extracellular signals regulate TRPC6 function remains to be further investigated. Here, we suggest that two distinct small molecules, M085 and GSK1702934A, directly activate TRPC6, both through a mechanism of stimulation of extracellular sites formed by the pore helix (PH) and transmembrane (TM) helix S6.
A conserved residue in the P2X4 receptor has a nonconserved function in ATP recognitionHighly conserved amino acids are generally anticipated to have similar functions across a protein superfamily, including that of the P2X ion channels, which are gated by extracellular ATP. However, whether and how these functions are conserved becomes less clear when neighboring amino acids are not conserved. Here, we investigate one such case, focused on the highly conserved residue from P2X4, E118 (rat P2X4 numbering, rP2X4), a P2X subtype associated with human neuropathic pain. When we compared the crystal structures of P2X4 with those of other P2X subtypes, including P2X3, P2X7, and AmP2X, we observed a slightly altered side-chain orientation of E118.
Site-specific contacts enable distinct modes of TRPV1 regulation by the potassium channel Kvβ1 subunitTransient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) channel is a multimodal receptor that is responsible for nociceptive, thermal, and mechanical sensations. However, which biomolecular partners specifically interact with TRPV1 remains to be elucidated. Here, we used cDNA library screening of genes from mouse dorsal root ganglia combined with patch-clamp electrophysiology to identify the voltage-gated potassium channel auxiliary subunit Kvβ1 physically interacting with TRPV1 channel and regulating its function.
Delineating an extracellular redox-sensitive module in T-type Ca2+ channelsT-type (Cav3) Ca2+ channels are important regulators of excitability and rhythmic activity of excitable cells. Among other voltage-gated Ca2+ channels, Cav3 channels are uniquely sensitive to oxidation and zinc. Using recombinant protein expression in HEK293 cells, patch clamp electrophysiology, site-directed mutagenesis, and homology modeling, we report here that modulation of Cav3.2 by redox agents and zinc is mediated by a unique extracellular module containing a high-affinity metal-binding site formed by the extracellular IS1–IS2 and IS3–IS4 loops of domain I and a cluster of extracellular cysteines in the IS1–IS2 loop.
Gating control of the cardiac sodium channel Nav1.5 by its β3-subunit involves distinct roles for a transmembrane glutamic acid and the extracellular domainThe auxiliary β3-subunit is an important functional regulator of the cardiac sodium channel Nav1.5, and some β3 mutations predispose individuals to cardiac arrhythmias. The β3-subunit uses its transmembrane α-helix and extracellular domain to bind to Nav1.5. Here, we investigated the role of an unusually located and highly conserved glutamic acid (Glu-176) within the β3 transmembrane region and its potential for functionally synergizing with the β3 extracellular domain (ECD). We substituted Glu-176 with lysine (E176K) in the WT β3-subunit and in a β3-subunit lacking the ECD.
Cl− and H+ coupling properties and subcellular localizations of wildtype and disease-associated variants of the voltage-gated Cl−/H+ exchanger ClC-5Dent disease 1 (DD1) is caused by mutations in the CLCN5 gene encoding a voltage-gated electrogenic nCl−/H+ exchanger ClC-5. Using ion-selective microelectrodes and Xenopus oocytes, here we studied Cl−/H+ coupling properties of WT ClC-5 and four DD1-associated variants (S244L, R345W, Q629*, and T657S), along with trafficking and localization of ClC-5. WT ClC-5 had a 2Cl−/H+ exchange ratio at a Vh of +40 mV with a [Cl−]out of 104 mm, but the transport direction did not reverse with a [Cl−]out of 5 mm, indicating that ClC-5-mediated exchange of two Cl− out for one H+ in is not permissible.
A K+/Na+ co-binding state: Simultaneous versus competitive binding of K+ and Na+ to glutamate transportersPlasma membrane–associated glutamate transporters play a key role in signaling by the major excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. Uphill glutamate uptake into cells is energetically driven by coupling to co-transport of three Na+ ions. In exchange, one K+ ion is counter-transported. Currently accepted transport mechanisms assume that Na+ and K+ effects are exclusive, resulting from competition of these cations at the binding level. Here, we used electrophysiological analysis to test the effects of K+ and Na+ on neuronal glutamate transporter excitatory amino acid carrier 1 (EAAC1; the rat homologue of human excitatory amino acid transporter 3 (EAAT3)).
Functional characterization and optimization of a bacterial cyclic nucleotide–gated channelCyclic nucleotide–gated (CNG) channels produce the initial electrical signal in mammalian vision and olfaction. They open in response to direct binding of cyclic nucleotide (cAMP or cGMP) to a cytoplasmic region of the channel. However, the conformational rearrangements occurring upon binding to produce pore opening (i.e. gating) are not well understood. SthK is a bacterial CNG channel that has the potential to serve as an ideal model for structure–function studies of gating but is currently limited by its toxicity, native cysteines, and low open probability (Po).
Voltage-dependent activation in EAG channels follows a ligand-receptor rather than a mechanical-lever mechanismEther-a-go-go family (EAG) channels play a major role in many physiological processes in humans, including cardiac repolarization and cell proliferation. Cryo-EM structures of two of them, KV10.1 and human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG or KV11.1), have revealed an original nondomain-swapped structure, suggesting that the mechanism of voltage-dependent gating of these two channels is quite different from the classical mechanical-lever model. Molecular aspects of hERG voltage-gating have been extensively studied, indicating that the S4-S5 linker (S4-S5L) acts as a ligand binding to the S6 gate (S6 C-terminal part, S6T) and stabilizes it in a closed state.
Replacement of Lys-300 with a glutamine in the NhaA Na+/H+ antiporter of Escherichia coli yields a functional electrogenic transporterMuch of the research on Na+/H+ exchange has been done in prokaryotic models, mainly on the NhaA Na+/H+-exchanger from Escherichia coli (EcNhaA). Two conserved aspartate residues, Asp-163 and Asp-164, are essential for transport and are candidates for possible binding sites for the two H+ that are exchanged for one Na+ to make the overall transport process electrogenic. More recently, a proposed mechanism of transport for EcNhaA has suggested direct binding of one of the transported H+ to the conserved Lys-300 residue, a salt bridge partner of Asp-163.
Inhibitory effects of cannabidiol on voltage-dependent sodium currentsCannabis sativa contains many related compounds known as phytocannabinoids. The main psychoactive and nonpsychoactive compounds are Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), respectively. Much of the evidence for clinical efficacy of CBD-mediated antiepileptic effects has been from case reports or smaller surveys. The mechanisms for CBD's anticonvulsant effects are unclear and likely involve noncannabinoid receptor pathways. CBD is reported to modulate several ion channels, including sodium channels (Nav).
Structure–function analyses of the ion channel TRPC3 reveal that its cytoplasmic domain allosterically modulates channel gatingThe transient receptor potential ion channels support Ca2+ permeation in many organs, including the heart, brain, and kidney. Genetic mutations in transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily C member 3 (TRPC3) are associated with neurodegenerative diseases, memory loss, and hypertension. To better understand the conformational changes that regulate TRPC3 function, we solved the cryo-EM structures for the full-length human TRPC3 and its cytoplasmic domain (CPD) in the apo state at 5.8- and 4.0-Å resolution, respectively.
LRRC8 N termini influence pore properties and gating of volume-regulated anion channels (VRACs)Volume-regulated anion channels (VRACs) are crucial for cell volume regulation and have various roles in physiology and pathology. VRACs were recently discovered to be formed by heteromers of leucine-rich repeat–containing 8 (LRRC8) proteins. However, the structural determinants of VRAC permeation and gating remain largely unknown. We show here that the short stretch preceding the first LRRC8 transmembrane domain determines VRAC conductance, ion permeability, and inactivation gating. Substituted-cysteine accessibility studies revealed that several of the first 15 LRRC8 residues are functionally important and exposed to a hydrophilic environment.
Identification of a single aspartate residue critical for both fast and slow calcium-dependent inactivation of the human TRPML1 channelTransient receptor potential mucolipin subfamily 1 (TRPML1) is a nonselective cation channel mainly located in late endosomes and lysosomes. Mutations of the gene encoding human TRPML1 can cause severe lysosomal diseases. The activity of TRPML1 is regulated by both Ca2+ and H+, which are important for its critical physiological functions in membrane trafficking, exocytosis, autophagy, and intracellular signal transduction. However, the molecular mechanism of its dual regulation by Ca2+ and H+ remains elusive.
The extracellular loop of pendrin and prestin modulates their voltage-sensing propertyPendrin and prestin belong to the solute carrier 26 (SLC26) family of anion transporters. Prestin is unique among the SLC26 family members in that it displays voltage-driven motor activity (electromotility) and concurrent gating currents that manifest as nonlinear cell membrane electrical capacitance (nonlinear capacitance (NLC)). Although the anion transport mechanism of the SLC26 proteins has begun to be elucidated, the molecular mechanism of electromotility, which is thought to have evolved from an ancestral ion transport mechanism, still remains largely elusive.
Cryo-EM structure of the cytoplasmic domain of murine transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily C member 6 (TRPC6)The kidney maintains the internal milieu by regulating the retention and excretion of proteins, ions, and small molecules. The glomerular podocyte forms the slit diaphragm of the ultrafiltration filter, whose damage leads to progressive kidney failure and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). The canonical transient receptor potential 6 (TRPC6) ion channel is expressed in the podocyte, and mutations in its cytoplasmic domain cause FSGS in humans. In vitro evaluation of disease-causing mutations in TRPC6 has revealed that these genetic alterations result in abnormal ion channel gating.
Activation of renal ClC-K chloride channels depends on an intact N terminus of their accessory subunit barttinClC-K channels belong to the CLC family of chloride channels and chloride/proton antiporters. They contribute to sodium chloride reabsorption in Henle’s loop of the kidney and to potassium secretion into the endolymph by the stria vascularis of the inner ear. Their accessory subunit barttin stabilizes the ClC-K/barttin complex, promotes its insertion into the surface membrane, and turns the pore-forming subunits into a conductive state. Barttin mutations cause Bartter syndrome type IV, a salt-wasting nephropathy with sensorineural deafness.
Ampicillin permeation across OmpF, the major outer-membrane channel in Escherichia coliThe outer cell wall of the Gram-negative bacteria is a crucial barrier for antibiotics to reach their target. Here, we show that the chemical stability of the widely used antibiotic ampicillin is a major factor in the permeation across OmpF to reach the target in the periplasm. Using planar lipid bilayers we investigated the interactions and permeation of OmpF with ampicillin, its basic pH–induced primary degradation product (penicilloic acid), and the chemically more stable benzylpenicillin. We found that the solute-induced ion current fluctuation is 10 times higher with penicilloic acid than with ampicillin.
Functional organization of cytoplasmic portals controlling access to the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) chloride channel poreThe cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) is a Cl− channel that apparently has evolved from an ancestral active transporter. Key to the CFTR’s switch from pump to channel function may have been the appearance of one or more “lateral portals.” Such portals connect the cytoplasm to the transmembrane channel pore, allowing a continuous pathway for the electrodiffusional movement of Cl− ions. However, these portals remain the least well-characterized part of the Cl− transport pathway; even the number of functional portals is uncertain, and if multiple portals do exist, their relative functional contributions are unknown.
Cross-kingdom auxiliary subunit modulation of a voltage-gated sodium channelVoltage-gated, sodium ion–selective channels (NaV) generate electrical signals contributing to the upstroke of the action potential in animals. NaVs are also found in bacteria and are members of a larger family of tetrameric voltage-gated channels that includes CaVs, KVs, and NaVs. Prokaryotic NaVs likely emerged from a homotetrameric Ca2+-selective voltage-gated progenerator, and later developed Na+ selectivity independently. The NaV signaling complex in eukaryotes contains auxiliary proteins, termed beta (β) subunits, which are potent modulators of the expression profiles and voltage-gated properties of the NaV pore, but it is unknown whether they can functionally interact with prokaryotic NaV channels.
Fluid flow modulates electrical activity in cardiac hERG potassium channelsFluid movement within the heart generates substantial shear forces, but the effect of this mechanical stress on the electrical activity of the human heart has not been examined. The fast component of the delayed rectifier potassium currents responsible for repolarization of the cardiac action potential, Ikr, is encoded by the human ether-a-go-go related gene (hERG) channel. Here, we exposed hERG1a channel–expressing HEK293T cells to lamiNAr shear stress (LSS) and observed that this mechanical stress increased the whole-cell current by 30–40%.
Authentic CRAC channel activity requires STIM1 and the conserved portion of the Orai N terminusCalcium (Ca2+) is an essential second messenger required for diverse signaling processes in immune cells. Ca2+ release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channels represent one main Ca2+ entry pathway into the cell. They are fully reconstituted via two proteins, the stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1), a Ca2+ sensor in the endoplasmic reticulum, and the Ca2+ ion channel Orai in the plasma membrane. After Ca2+ store depletion, STIM1 and Orai couple to each other, allowing Ca2+ influx. CRAC-/STIM1-mediated Orai channel currents display characteristic hallmarks such as high Ca2+ selectivity, an increase in current density when switching from a Ca2+-containing solution to a divalent-free Na+ one, and fast Ca2+-dependent inactivation.
Communication between N terminus and loop2 tunes Orai activationCa2+ release-activated Ca2+ (CRAC) channels constitute the major Ca2+ entry pathway into the cell. They are fully reconstituted via intermembrane coupling of the Ca2+-selective Orai channel and the Ca2+-sensing protein STIM1. In addition to the Orai C terminus, the main coupling site for STIM1, the Orai N terminus is indispensable for Orai channel gating. Although the extended transmembrane Orai N-terminal region (Orai1 amino acids 73–91; Orai3 amino acids 48–65) is fully conserved in the Orai1 and Orai3 isoforms, Orai3 tolerates larger N-terminal truncations than Orai1 in retaining store-operated activation.