A multipoint hydrogen-bond network underlying KcsA C-type inactivation.
ABSTRACT: In the prokaryotic potassium channel KcsA activation gating at the inner bundle gate is followed by C-type inactivation at the selectivity filter. Entry into the C-type inactivated state has been directly linked to the strength of the H-bond interaction between residues Glu-71 and Asp-80 behind the filter, and is allosterically triggered by the rearrangement of the inner bundle gate. Here, we show that H-bond pairing between residues Trp-67 and Asp-80, conserved in most K? channels, constitutes another critical interaction that determines the rate and extent of KcsA C-type inactivation. Disruption of the equivalent interaction in Shaker (Trp-434-Asp-447) and Kv1.2 (Trp-366-Asp-379) leads also to modulation of the inactivation process, suggesting that these residues also play an analogous role in the inactivation gating of Kv channels. The present results show that in KcsA C-type inactivation gating is governed by a multipoint hydrogen-bond network formed by the triad Trp-67-Glu71-Asp-80. This triad exerts a critical role in the dynamics and conformational stability of the selectivity filter and might serve as a general modulator of selectivity filter gating in other members of the K? channel family.
Project description:The coupled interplay between activation and inactivation gating is a functional hallmark of K(+) channels. This coupling has been experimentally demonstrated through ion interaction effects and cysteine accessibility, and is associated with a well defined boundary of energetically coupled residues. The structure of the K(+) channel KcsA in its fully open conformation, in addition to four other partial channel openings, richly illustrates the structural basis of activation-inactivation gating. Here, we identify the mechanistic principles by which movements on the inner bundle gate trigger conformational changes at the selectivity filter, leading to the non-conductive C-type inactivated state. Analysis of a series of KcsA open structures suggests that, as a consequence of the hinge-bending and rotation of the TM2 helix, the aromatic ring of Phe 103 tilts towards residues Thr 74 and Thr 75 in the pore-helix and towards Ile 100 in the neighbouring subunit. This allows the network of hydrogen bonds among residues Trp 67, Glu 71 and Asp 80 to destabilize the selectivity filter, allowing entry to its non-conductive conformation. Mutations at position 103 have a size-dependent effect on gating kinetics: small side-chain substitutions F103A and F103C severely impair inactivation kinetics, whereas larger side chains such as F103W have more subtle effects. This suggests that the allosteric coupling between the inner helical bundle and the selectivity filter might rely on straightforward mechanical deformation propagated through a network of steric contacts. Average interactions calculated from molecular dynamics simulations show favourable open-state interaction-energies between Phe 103 and the surrounding residues. We probed similar interactions in the Shaker K(+) channel where inactivation was impaired in the mutant I470A. We propose that side-chain rearrangements at position 103 mechanically couple activation and inactivation in KcsA and a variety of other K(+) channels.
Project description:C-type inactivation is a time-dependent process observed in many K<sup>+</sup> channels whereby prolonged activation by an external stimulus leads to a reduction in ionic conduction. While C-type inactivation is thought to be a result of a constriction of the selectivity filter, the local dynamics of the process remain elusive. Here, we use molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of the KcsA channel to elucidate the nature of kinetically delayed activation/inactivation gating coupling. Microsecond-scale MD simulations based on the truncated form of the KcsA channel (C-terminal domain deleted) provide a first glimpse of the onset of C-type inactivation. We observe over multiple trajectories that the selectivity filter consistently undergoes a spontaneous and rapid (within 1-2 µs) transition to a constricted conformation when the intracellular activation gate is fully open, but remains in the conductive conformation when the activation gate is closed or partially open. Multidimensional umbrella sampling potential of mean force calculations and nonequilibrium voltage-driven simulations further confirm these observations. Electrophysiological measurements show that the truncated form of the KcsA channel inactivates faster and greater than full-length KcsA, which is consistent with truncated KcsA opening to a greater degree because of the absence of the C-terminal domain restraint. Together, these results imply that the observed kinetics underlying activation/inactivation gating reflect a rapid conductive-to-constricted transition of the selectivity filter that is allosterically controlled by the slow opening of the intracellular gate.
Project description:There is increasing evidence to support the notion that membrane proteins, instead of being isolated components floating in a fluid lipid environment, can be assembled into supramolecular complexes that take part in a variety of cooperative cellular functions. The interplay between lipid-protein and protein-protein interactions is expected to be a determinant factor in the assembly and dynamics of such membrane complexes. Here we report on a role of anionic phospholipids in determining the extent of clustering of KcsA, a model potassium channel. Assembly/disassembly of channel clusters occurs, at least partly, as a consequence of competing lipid-protein and protein-protein interactions at nonannular lipid binding sites on the channel surface and brings about profound changes in the gating properties of the channel. Our results suggest that these latter effects of anionic lipids are mediated via the Trp(67)-Glu(71)-Asp(80) inactivation triad within the channel structure and its bearing on the selectivity filter.
Project description:In K(+) channels, the selectivity filter, pore helix, and outer vestibule play a crucial role in gating mechanisms. The outer vestibule is an important structurally extended region of KcsA in which toxins, blockers, and metal ions bind and modulate the gating behavior of K(+) channels. Despite its functional significance, the gating-related structural dynamics at the outer vestibule are not well understood. Under steady-state conditions, inactivating WT and noninactivating E71A KcsA stabilize the nonconductive and conductive filter conformations upon opening the activation gate. Site-directed fluorescence polarization of 7-nitrobenz-2-oxa-1,3-diazol-4-yl (NBD)-labeled outer vestibule residues shows that the outer vestibule of open/conductive conformation is highly dynamic compared with the motional restriction experienced by the outer vestibule during inactivation gating. A wavelength-selective fluorescence approach shows a change in hydration dynamics in inactivated and noninactivated conformations, and supports a possible role of restricted/bound water molecules in C-type inactivation gating. Using a unique restrained ensemble simulation method, along with distance measurements by EPR, we show that, on average, the outer vestibule undergoes a modest backbone conformational change during its transition to various functional states, although the structural dynamics of the outer vestibule are significantly altered during activation and inactivation gating. Taken together, our results support the role of a hydrogen bond network behind the selectivity filter, side-chain conformational dynamics, and water molecules in the gating mechanisms of K(+) channels.
Project description:The selectivity filter and the activation gate in potassium channels are functionally and structurally coupled. An allosteric coupling underlies C-type inactivation coupled to activation gating in this ion-channel family (i.e., opening of the activation gate triggers the collapse of the channel's selectivity filter). We have identified the second Threonine residue within the TTVGYGD signature sequence of K+ channels as a crucial residue for this allosteric communication. A Threonine to Alanine substitution at this position was studied in three representative members of the K+-channel family. Interestingly, all of the mutant channels exhibited lack of C-type inactivation gating and an inversion of their allosteric coupling (i.e., closing of the activation gate collapses the channel's selectivity filter). A state-dependent crystallographic study of KcsA-T75A proves that, on activation, the selectivity filter transitions from a nonconductive and deep C-type inactivated conformation to a conductive one. Finally, we provide a crystallographic demonstration that closed-state inactivation can be achieved by the structural collapse of the channel's selectivity filter.
Project description:Interconversion between conductive and non-conductive forms of the K(+) channel selectivity filter underlies a variety of gating events, from flicker transitions (at the microsecond timescale) to C-type inactivation (millisecond to second timescale). Here we report the crystal structure of the Streptomyces lividans K(+) channel KcsA in its open-inactivated conformation and investigate the mechanism of C-type inactivation gating at the selectivity filter from channels 'trapped' in a series of partially open conformations. Five conformer classes were identified with openings ranging from 12 A in closed KcsA (Calpha-Calpha distances at Thr 112) to 32 A when fully open. They revealed a remarkable correlation between the degree of gate opening and the conformation and ion occupancy of the selectivity filter. We show that a gradual filter backbone reorientation leads first to a loss of the S2 ion binding site and a subsequent loss of the S3 binding site, presumably abrogating ion conduction. These structures indicate a molecular basis for C-type inactivation in K(+) channels.
Project description:The amount of ionic current flowing through K(+) channels is determined by the interplay between two separate time-dependent processes: activation and inactivation gating. Activation is concerned with the stimulus-dependent opening of the main intracellular gate, whereas inactivation is a spontaneous conformational transition of the selectivity filter toward a nonconductive state occurring on a variety of timescales. A recent analysis of multiple x-ray structures of open and partially open KcsA channels revealed the mechanism by which movements of the inner activation gate, formed by the inner helices from the four subunits of the pore domain, bias the conformational changes at the selectivity filter toward a nonconductive inactivated state. This analysis highlighted the important role of Phe103, a residue located along the inner helix, near the hinge position associated with the opening of the intracellular gate. In the present study, we use free energy perturbation molecular dynamics simulations (FEP/MD) to quantitatively elucidate the thermodynamic basis for the coupling between the intracellular gate and the selectivity filter. The results of the FEP/MD calculations are in good agreement with experiments, and further analysis of the repulsive, van der Waals dispersive, and electrostatic free energy contributions reveals that the energetic basis underlying the absence of inactivation in the F103A mutation in KcsA is the absence of the unfavorable steric interaction occurring with the large Ile100 side chain in a neighboring subunit when the intracellular gate is open and the selectivity filter is in a conductive conformation. Macroscopic current analysis shows that the I100A mutant indeed relieves inactivation in KcsA, but to a lesser extent than the F103A mutant.
Project description:Flux-dependent inactivation that arises from functional coupling between the inner gate and the selectivity filter is widespread in ion channels. The structural basis of this coupling has only been well characterized in KcsA. Here we present NMR data demonstrating structural and dynamic coupling between the selectivity filter and intracellular constriction point in the bacterial nonselective cation channel, NaK. This transmembrane allosteric communication must be structurally different from KcsA because the NaK selectivity filter does not collapse under low-cation conditions. Comparison of NMR spectra of the nonselective NaK and potassium-selective NaK2K indicates that the number of ion binding sites in the selectivity filter shifts the equilibrium distribution of structural states throughout the channel. This finding was unexpected given the nearly identical crystal structure of NaK and NaK2K outside the immediate vicinity of the selectivity filter. Our results highlight the tight structural and dynamic coupling between the selectivity filter and the channel scaffold, which has significant implications for channel function. NaK offers a distinct model to study the physiologically essential connection between ion conduction and channel gating.
Project description:Ion conduction across the cellular membrane requires the simultaneous opening of activation and inactivation gates of the K+ channel pore. The bacterial KcsA channel has served as a powerful system for dissecting the structural changes that are related to four major functional states associated with K+ gating. Yet, the direct observation of the full gating cycle of KcsA has remained structurally elusive, and crystal structures mimicking these gating events require mutations in or stabilization of functionally relevant channel segments. Here, we found that changes in lipid composition strongly increased the KcsA open probability. This enabled us to probe all four major gating states in native-like membranes by combining electrophysiological and solid-state NMR experiments. In contrast to previous crystallographic views, we found that the selectivity filter and turret region, coupled to the surrounding bilayer, were actively involved in channel gating. The increase in overall steady-state open probability was accompanied by a reduction in activation-gate opening, underscoring the important role of the surrounding lipid bilayer in the delicate conformational coupling of the inactivation and activation gates.
Project description:Transmembrane allosteric coupling is a feature of many critical biological signaling events. Here we test whether transmembrane allosteric coupling controls the potassium binding affinity of the prototypical potassium channel KcsA in the context of C-type inactivation. Activation of KcsA is initiated by proton binding to the pH gate upon an intracellular drop in pH. Numerous studies have suggested that this proton binding also prompts a conformational switch, leading to a loss of affinity for potassium ions at the selectivity filter and therefore to channel inactivation. We tested this mechanism for inactivation using a KcsA mutant (H25R/E118A) that exhibits an open pH gate across a broad range of pH values. We present solid-state NMR measurements of this open mutant at neutral pH to probe the affinity for potassium at the selectivity filter. The potassium binding affinity in the selectivity filter of this mutant, 81 mM, is about four orders of magnitude weaker than that of wild-type KcsA at neutral pH and is comparable to the value for wild-type KcsA at low pH (pH ? 3.5). This result strongly supports our assertion that the open pH gate allosterically affects the potassium binding affinity of the selectivity filter. In this mutant, the protonation state of a glutamate residue (E120) in the pH sensor is sensitive to potassium binding, suggesting that this mutant also has flexibility in the activation gate and is subject to transmembrane allostery.