Engineering of a genetically encodable fluorescent voltage sensor exploiting fast Ci-VSP voltage-sensing movements.
ABSTRACT: Ci-VSP contains a voltage-sensing domain (VSD) homologous to that of voltage-gated potassium channels. Using charge displacement ('gating' current) measurements we show that voltage-sensing movements of this VSD can occur within 1 ms in mammalian membranes. Our analysis lead to development of a genetically encodable fluorescent protein voltage sensor (VSFP) in which the fast, voltage-dependent conformational changes of the Ci-VSP voltage sensor are transduced to similarly fast fluorescence read-outs.
Project description:In the voltage-sensing phosphatase Ci-VSP, a voltage-sensing domain (VSD) controls a lipid phosphatase domain (PD). The mechanism by which the domains are allosterically coupled is not well understood. Using an in vivo assay, we found that the interdomain linker that connects the VSD to the PD is essential for coupling the full-length protein. Biochemical assays showed that the linker is also needed for activity in the isolated PD. We also identified a late step of VSD motion in the full-length protein that depends on the linker. Notably, we found that this VSD motion requires PI(4,5)P2, a substrate of Ci-VSP. These results suggest that the voltage-driven motion of the VSD turns the enzyme on by rearranging the linker into an activated conformation, and that this activated conformation is stabilized by PI(4,5)P2. We propose that Ci-VSP activity is self-limited because its decrease of PI(4,5)P2 levels decouples the VSD from the enzyme.
Project description:Membrane proteins that respond to changes in transmembrane voltage are critical in regulating the function of living cells. The voltage-sensing domains (VSDs) of voltage-gated ion channels are extensively studied to elucidate voltage-sensing mechanisms, and yet many aspects of their structure-function relationship remain elusive. Here, we transplanted homologous amino acid motifs from the tetrameric voltage-activated potassium channel Kv3.1 to the monomeric VSD of Ciona intestinalis voltage-sensitive phosphatase (Ci-VSP) to explore which portions of Kv3.1 subunits depend on the tetrameric structure of Kv channels and which properties of Kv3.1 can be transferred to the monomeric Ci-VSP scaffold. By attaching fluorescent proteins to these chimeric VSDs, we obtained an optical readout to establish membrane trafficking and kinetics of voltage-dependent structural rearrangements. We found that motifs extending from 10 to roughly 100 amino acids can be readily transplanted from Kv3.1 into Ci-VSP to form engineered VSDs that efficiently incorporate into the plasma membrane and sense voltage. Some of the functional features of these engineered VSDs are reminiscent of Kv3.1 channels, indicating that these properties do not require interactions between Kv subunits or between the voltage sensing and the pore domains of Kv channels.
Project description:The Ciona intestinalis voltage-sensitive phosphatase (Ci-VSP) represents the first discovered member of enzymes regulated by a voltage-sensor domain (VSD) related to the VSD found in voltage-gated ion channels. Although the VSD operation in Ci-VSP exhibits original voltage dependence and kinetics compared to ion channels, it has been poorly investigated. Here, we show that the kinetics and voltage dependence of VSD movement in Ci-VSP can be tuned over 2 orders of magnitude and shifted over 120 mV, respectively, by the size of a conserved isoleucine (I126) in the S1 segment, thus indicating the importance of this residue in Ci-VSP activation. Mutations of the conserved Phe in the S2 segment (F161) do not significantly perturb the voltage dependence of the VSD movement, suggesting a unique voltage sensing mechanism in Ci-VSP.
Project description:Voltage-sensing phosphatases (VSPs) share the molecular architecture of the voltage sensor domain (VSD) with voltage-gated ion channels and the phosphoinositide phosphatase region with the phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), respectively. VSPs enzymatic activities are regulated by the motions of VSD upon depolarization. The physiological role of these proteins has remained elusive, and insights may be gained by investigating biological variations in different animal species. Urodele amphibians are vertebrates with potent activities of regeneration and also show diverse mechanisms of polyspermy prevention. We cloned cDNAs of VSPs from the testes of two urodeles; Hynobius nebulosus and Cynops pyrrhogaster, and compared their expression and voltage-dependent activation. Their molecular architecture is highly conserved in both Hynobius VSP (Hn-VSP) and Cynops VSP (Cp-VSP), including the positively-charged arginine residues in the S4 segment of the VSD and the enzymatic active site for substrate binding, yet the C-terminal C2 domain of Hn-VSP is significantly shorter than that of Cp-VSP and other VSP orthologs. RT-PCR analysis showed that gene expression pattern was distinct between two VSPs. The voltage sensor motions and voltage-dependent phosphatase activities were investigated electrophysiologically by expression in Xenopus oocytes. Both VSPs showed "sensing" currents, indicating that their voltage sensor domains are functional. The phosphatase activity of Cp-VSP was found to be voltage dependent, as shown by its ability to regulate the conductance of coexpressed GIRK2 channels, but Hn-VSP lacked such phosphatase activity due to the truncation of its C2 domain.
Project description:Voltage-sensing phosphatases (VSP) contain a voltage sensor domain (VSD) similar to that of voltage-gated ion channels but lack a pore-gate domain. A VSD in a VSP regulates the cytoplasmic catalytic region (CCR). However, the mechanisms by which the VSD couples to the CCR remain elusive. Here we report a membrane interface (named 'the hydrophobic spine'), which is essential for the coupling of the VSD and CCR. Our molecular dynamics simulations suggest that the hydrophobic spine of Ciona intestinalis VSP (Ci-VSP) provides a hinge-like motion for the CCR through the loose membrane association of the phosphatase domain. Electrophysiological experiments indicate that the voltage-dependent phosphatase activity of Ci-VSP depends on the hydrophobicity and presence of an aromatic ring in the hydrophobic spine. Analysis of conformational changes in the VSD and CCR suggests that the VSP has two states with distinct enzyme activities and that the second transition depends on the hydrophobic spine.
Project description:Voltage-sensing phosphatase (VSP) consists of a transmembrane voltage sensor domain (VSD) and the cytoplasmic domain with phosphoinositide-phosphatase activities. It operates as the voltage sensor and directly translates membrane potential into phosphoinositide turnover by coupling VSD to the cytoplasmic domain. VSPs are evolutionarily conserved from marine invertebrate up to humans. Recently, we demonstrated that ectopic expression of the chick ortholog of VSP, Gg-VSP, in a fibroblast cell line caused characteristic cell process outgrowths. Co-expression of chick PTEN suppressed such morphological change, suggesting that VSP regulates cell shape by increasing PI(3,4)P2. However, the in vivo function of Gg-VSP remains unclear. Here, we showed that in chick embryos Gg-VSP is expressed in the stomach, mesonephros, pharyngeal arch, limb bud, somites, floor plate of neural tube, and notochord. In addition, both Gg-VSP transcripts and the protein were found in the cerebellar Purkinje neurons. These findings provide an insight into the physiological functions of VSP.
Project description:The Ciona intestinalis voltage-sensitive phosphatase, Ci-VSP, was the first Voltage-controlled Enzyme (VEnz) proven to be under direct command of the membrane potential. The discovery of Ci-VSP conjugated voltage sensitivity and enzymatic activity in a single protein. These two facets of Ci-VSP activity have provided a unique model for studying how membrane potential is sensed by proteins and a novel mechanism for control of enzymatic activity. These facets make Ci-VSP a fascinating and versatile enzyme. Ci-VSP has a voltage sensing domain (VSD) that resembles those found in voltage-gated channels (VGC). The VSD resides in the N-terminus and is formed by four putative transmembrane segments. The fourth segment contains charged residues which are likely involved in voltage sensing. Ci-VSP produces sensing currents in response to changes in potential, within a defined range of voltages. Sensing currents are analogous to "gating" currents in VGC. As known, these latter proteins contain four VSDs which are entangled in a complex interaction with the pore domain - the effector domain in VGC. This complexity makes studying the basis of voltage sensing in VGC a difficult enterprise. In contrast, Ci-VSP is thought to be monomeric and its catalytic domain - the VSP's effector domain - can be cleaved off without disrupting the basic electrical functioning of the VSD. For these reasons, VSPs are considered a great model for studying the activity of a VSD in isolation. Finally, VSPs are also phosphoinositide phosphatases. Phosphoinositides are signaling lipids found in eukaryotes and are involved in many processes, including modulation of VGC activity and regulation of cell proliferation. Understanding VSPs as enzymes has been the center of attention in recent years and several reviews has been dedicated to this area. Thus, this review will be focused instead on the other face of this true JanusBifrons and recapitulate what is known about VSPs as electrically active proteins.
Project description:In the voltage-sensitive phosphatase Ci-VSP, conformational changes in the transmembrane voltage sensor domain (VSD) are transduced to the intracellular catalytic domain (CD) leading to its dephosphorylation activity against membrane-embedded phosphoinositides. The linker between both domains is proposed to be crucial for the VSD-CD coupling. With a combined approach of electrophysiological measurements on Xenopus oocytes and molecular dynamics simulations of a Ci-VSP model embedded in a lipid bilayer, we analyzed how conformational changes in the linker mediate the interaction between the CD and the activated VSD. In this way, we identified specific residues in the linker that interact with well-defined amino acids in one of the three loops forming the active site of the protein, named TI loop. With our results, we shed light into the early steps of the coupling process between the VSD and the CD, which are based on fine-tuned electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions between the linker, the membrane and the CD.
Project description:Voltage-sensitive phosphatases (VSPs) are proteins that directly couple changes in membrane electrical potential to inositol lipid phosphatase activity. VSPs thus couple two signaling pathways that are critical for cellular functioning. Although a number of nonmammalian VSPs have been characterized biophysically, mammalian VSPs are less well understood at both the physiological and biophysical levels. In this study, we aimed to address this gap in knowledge by determining whether the VSP from mouse, Mm-VSP, is expressed in the brain and contains a functional voltage-sensing domain (VSD) and a phosphatase domain. We report that Mm-VSP is expressed in neurons and is developmentally regulated. To address whether the functions of the VSD and phosphatase domain are retained in Mm-VSP, we took advantage of the modular nature of these domains and expressed each independently as a chimeric protein in a heterologous expression system. We found that the Mm-VSP VSD, fused to a viral potassium channel, was able to drive voltage-dependent gating of the channel pore. The Mm-VSP phosphatase domain, fused to the VSD of a nonmammalian VSP, was also functional: activation resulted in PI(4,5)P2 depletion that was sufficient to inhibit the PI(4,5)P2-regulated KCNQ2/3 channels. While testing the functionality of the VSD and phosphatase domain, we observed slight differences between the activities of Mm-VSP-based chimeras and those of nonmammalian VSPs. Although the properties of VSP chimeras may not completely reflect the properties of native VSPs, the differences we observed in voltage-sensing and phosphatase activity provide a starting point for future experiments to investigate the function of Mm-VSP and other mammalian VSPs. In conclusion, our data reveal that both the VSD and the lipid phosphatase domain of Mm-VSP are functional, indicating that Mm-VSP likely plays an important role in mouse neurophysiology.
Project description:Multimerization is a key characteristic of most voltage-sensing proteins. The main exception was thought to be the Ciona intestinalis voltage-sensing phosphatase (Ci-VSP). In this study, we show that multimerization is also critical for Ci-VSP function. Using coimmunoprecipitation and single-molecule pull-down, we find that Ci-VSP stoichiometry is flexible. It exists as both monomers and dimers, with dimers favored at higher concentrations. We show strong dimerization via the voltage-sensing domain (VSD) and weak dimerization via the phosphatase domain. Using voltage-clamp fluorometry, we also find that VSDs cooperate to lower the voltage dependence of activation, thus favoring the activation of Ci-VSP. Finally, using activity assays, we find that dimerization alters Ci-VSP substrate specificity such that only dimeric Ci-VSP is able to dephosphorylate the 3-phosphate from PI(3,4,5)P3 or PI(3,4)P2 Our results indicate that dimerization plays a significant role in Ci-VSP function.