- Cryo-electron micrograph studies recently have identified a Ca2+-binding site in the 2,200-kDa ryanodine receptor ion channel (RyR1) in skeletal muscle. To clarify the role of this site in regulating RyR1 activity, here we applied mutational, electrophysiological, and computational methods. Three amino acid residues that interact directly with Ca2+ were replaced, and these RyR1 variants were expressed in HEK293 cells. Single-site RyR1-E3893Q, -E3893V, -E3967Q, -E3967V, and -T5001A variants and double-site RyR1-E3893Q/E3967Q and -E3893V/E3967V variants displayed cellular Ca2+ release in response to caffeine, which indicated that they retained functionality as caffeine-sensitive, Ca2+-conducting channels in the HEK293 cell system.
- Many disease-causing mutations impair protein stability. Here, we explore a thermodynamic strategy to correct the disease-causing F508del mutation in the human cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (hCFTR). F508del destabilizes nucleotide-binding domain 1 (hNBD1) in hCFTR relative to an aggregation-prone intermediate. We developed a fluorescence self-quenching assay for compounds that prevent aggregation of hNBD1 by stabilizing its native conformation. Unexpectedly, we found that dTTP and nucleotide analogs with exocyclic methyl groups bind to hNBD1 more strongly than ATP and preserve electrophysiological function of full-length F508del-hCFTR channels at temperatures up to 37 °C.
- The ryanodine receptor ion channel RyR1 is present in skeletal muscle and has a large cytoplasmic N-terminal domain and smaller C-terminal pore-forming domain comprising six transmembrane helices, a pore helix, and a selectivity filter. The RyR1 S6 pore-lining helix has two conserved glycines, Gly-4934 and Gly-4941, that facilitate RyR1 channel gating by providing S6 flexibility and minimizing amino acid clashes. Here, we report that substitution of Gly-4941 with Asp or Lys results in functional channels as indicated by caffeine-induced Ca2+ release response in HEK293 cells, whereas a low response of the corresponding Gly-4934 variants suggested loss of function.
- The type 1 ryanodine receptor (RyR1) mediates Ca2+ release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum to initiate skeletal muscle contraction and is associated with muscle diseases, malignant hyperthermia, and central core disease. To better understand RyR1 channel function, we investigated the molecular mechanisms of channel gating and ion permeation. An adequate model of channel gating requires accurate, high-resolution models of both open and closed states of the channel. To this end, we generated an open-channel RyR1 model using molecular simulations to pull Ca2+ through the pore constriction site of a closed-channel RyR1 structure determined at 3.8-Å resolution.
- Sodium absorption in epithelial cells is rate-limited by the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) activity in lung, kidney, and the distal colon. Pathophysiological conditions, such as cystic fibrosis and Liddle syndrome, result from water-electrolyte imbalance partly due to malfunction of ENaC regulation. Because the quaternary structure of ENaC is yet undetermined, the bases of pathologically linked mutations in ENaC subunits α, β, and γ are largely unknown. Here, we present a structural model of heterotetrameric ENaC α1βα2γ that is consistent with previous cross-linking results and site-directed mutagenesis experiments.
- Type 1 ryanodine receptors (RyR1s) release Ca2+ from the sarcoplasmic reticulum to initiate skeletal muscle contraction. The role of RyR1-G4934 and -G4941 in the pore-lining helix in channel gating and ion permeation was probed by replacing them with amino acid residues of increasing side chain volume. RyR1-G4934A, -G4941A, and -G4941V mutant channels exhibited a caffeine-induced Ca2+ release response in HEK293 cells and bound the RyR-specific ligand [3H]ryanodine. In single channel recordings, significant differences in the number of channel events and mean open and close times were observed between WT and RyR1-G4934A and -G4941A.