A prokaryotic potassium ion channel with two predicted transmembrane segments from Streptomyces lividans.
ABSTRACT: We report the identification, functional expression, purification, reconstitution and electrophysiological characterization of an up to now unique prokaryotic potassium ion channel (KcsA). It has a rectifying current-voltage relationship and displays subconductance states, the largest of which amounts to A approximately equal to 90 pS. The channel is blocked by Cs- ions and gating requires the presence of Mg2+ ions. The kcsA gene has been identified in the gram-positive soil bacterium Streptomyces lividans. It encodes a predicted 17.6 kDa protein with two potential membrane-spanning helices linked by a central domain which shares a high degree of similarity with the H5 segment conserved among eukaryotic ion channels. Multiple alignments of deduced amino acids suggest that the novel channel has the closest kinship to the S5, H5 and S6 regions of voltage-gated K+ channel families, mainly to the subfamily represented by the Shaker protein from Drosophila melanogaster. Moreover, KcsA is most distantly related to eukaryotic inwardly rectifying channels with two putative predicted transmembrane segments.
Project description:Potassium channels ubiquitously exist in nearly all kingdoms of life and perform diverse but important functions. Since the first atomic structure of a prokaryotic potassium channel (KcsA, a channel from Streptomyces lividans) was determined, tremendous progress has been made in understanding the mechanism of potassium channels and channels conducting other ions. In this review, we discuss the structure of various kinds of potassium channels, including the potassium channel with the pore-forming domain only (KcsA), voltage-gated, inwardly rectifying, tandem pore domain, and ligand-gated ones. The general properties shared by all potassium channels are introduced first, followed by specific features in each class. Our purpose is to help readers to grasp the basic concepts, to be familiar with the property of the different domains, and to understand the structure and function of the potassium channels better.
Project description:The prokaryotic KcsA channel is gated at the helical bundle crossing by intracellular protons and inactivates at the extracellular selectivity filter. The C-terminal transmembrane helix has to undergo a conformational change for potassium ions to access the central cavity. Whereas a partial opening of the tetrameric channel is suggested to be responsible for subconductance levels of ion channels, including KcsA, a cooperative opening of the 4 subunits is postulated as the final opening step. In this study, we used single-channel fluorescence spectroscopy of KcsA to directly observe the movement of each subunit and the temporal correlation between subunits. Purified KcsA channels labeled at the C terminus near the bundle crossing have been inserted into supported lipid bilayer, and the fluorescence traces analyzed by means of a cooperative or independent Markov model. The analysis revealed that the 4 subunits do not move fully independently but instead showed a certain degree of cooperativity. However, the 4 subunits do not simply open in 1 concerted step.
Project description:K(+) channels are membrane proteins that selectively conduct K(+) ions across lipid bilayers. Many voltage-gated K(+) (KV) channels contain two gates, one at the bundle crossing on the intracellular side of the membrane and another in the selectivity filter. The gate at the bundle crossing is responsible for channel opening in response to a voltage stimulus, whereas the gate at the selectivity filter is responsible for C-type inactivation. Together, these regions determine when the channel conducts ions. The K(+) channel from Streptomyces lividians (KcsA) undergoes an inactivation process that is functionally similar to KV channels, which has led to its use as a practical system to study inactivation. Crystal structures of KcsA channels with an open intracellular gate revealed a selectivity filter in a constricted conformation similar to the structure observed in closed KcsA containing only Na(+) or low [K(+)]. However, recent work using a semisynthetic channel that is unable to adopt a constricted filter but inactivates like WT channels challenges this idea. In this study, we measured the equilibrium ion-binding properties of channels with conductive, inactivated, and constricted filters using isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC). EPR spectroscopy was used to determine the state of the intracellular gate of the channel, which we found can depend on the presence or absence of a lipid bilayer. Overall, we discovered that K(+) ion binding to channels with an inactivated or conductive selectivity filter is different from K(+) ion binding to channels with a constricted filter, suggesting that the structures of these channels are different.
Project description:Biological ion channels rely on a multi-ion transport mechanism for fast yet selective permeation of ions. The crystal structure of the KcsA potassium channel provided the first microscopic picture of this process. A similar mechanism is assumed to operate in all potassium channels, but the validity of this assumption has not been well investigated. Here, we examine the energetics of ion permeation in Shaker Kv1.2 and KcsA channels, which exemplify the six-transmembrane voltage-gated and two-transmembrane inward-rectifier channels. We study the feasibility of binding a third ion to the filter and the concerted motion of ions in the channel by constructing the potential of mean force for K(+) ions in various configurations. For both channels, we find that a pair of K(+) ions can move almost freely within the filter, but a relatively large free-energy barrier hinders the K(+) ion from stepping outside the filter. We discuss the effect of the CMAP dihedral energy correction that was recently incorporated into the CHARMM force field on ion permeation dynamics.
Project description:KcsA, the bacterial K(+) channel from Streptomyces lividans, is the prototypical model system to study the functional and structural correlations of the pore domain of eukaryotic voltage-gated K(+) channels (Kv channels). It contains all the molecular elements responsible for ion conduction, activation, deactivation and inactivation gating . KcsA's structural simplicity makes it highly amenable for structural studies. Therefore, it is methodological advantageous to produce large amounts of functional and properly folded KcsA in a cost-effective manner. In the present study, we show an optimized protocol for the over-expression and purification of large amounts of high-quality, fully functional and crystallizable KcsA using inexpensive detergents, which significantly lowered the cost of the purification process.
Project description:A universal property of ion channels is their ability to alternate stochastically between two permeation states, open and closed. This behavior is thought to be controlled by a steric "gate", a structure that physically impedes ion flow in the closed state and moves out of the way during channel opening. Experiments employing macroscopic currents in the Shaker K channel have suggested a cytoplasmic localization for the gate. Crystallographic structures of the KcsA K channel indeed reveal a cytoplasmic constriction, implying that the gate and selectivity filter are localized to opposite ends of the permeation pathway. However, analysis of K channel subconductance behavior has suggested a strict coupling between channel opening (gating) and permeation. The idea that the selectivity filter is the gate was therefore investigated by using Monte Carlo simulations. Gating is accomplished by allowing the filter to alternate stochastically between two conformations: a high-affinity state, which selectively binds K ions (but not Na ions) and traps them, and a completely nonselective, low-affinity state, which allows both Na and K ions to permeate. The results of these simulations indicate that affinity switching not only endows the selectivity filter with gating abilities, it also allows efficient permeation without jeopardizing ion selectivity. In this model, permeation and gating result from the same process.
Project description:Sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) K(+) channels are voltage-regulated channels that are thought to be actively gating when the membrane potential across the SR is close to zero as is expected physiologically. A characteristic of SR K(+) channels is that they gate to subconductance open states but the relevance of the subconductance events and their contribution to the overall current flowing through the channels at physiological membrane potentials is not known. We have investigated the relationship between subconductance and full conductance openings and developed kinetic models to describe the voltage sensitivity of channel gating. Because there may be two subtypes of SR K(+) channels (TRIC-A and TRIC-B) present in most tissues, to conduct our study on a homogeneous population of SR K(+) channels, we incorporated SR vesicles derived from Tric-a knockout mice into artificial membranes to examine the remaining SR K(+) channel (TRIC-B) function. The channels displayed very low open probability (Po) at negative potentials (?0 mV) and opened predominantly to subconductance open states. Positive holding potentials primarily increased the frequency of subconductance state openings and thereby increased the number of subsequent transitions into the full open state, although a slowing of transitions back to the sublevels was also important. We investigated whether the subconductance gating could arise as an artifact of incomplete resolution of rapid transitions between full open and closed states; however, we were not able to produce a model that could fit the data as well as one that included multiple distinct current amplitudes. Our results suggest that the apparent subconductance openings will provide most of the K(+) flux when the SR membrane potential is close to zero. The relative contribution played by openings to the full open state would increase if negative charge developed within the SR thus increasing the capacity of the channel to compensate for ionic imbalances.
Project description:Peptide neurotoxins are powerful tools for research, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Limiting broader use, most receptors lack an identified toxin that binds with high affinity and specificity. This paper describes isolation of toxins for one such orphan target, KcsA, a potassium channel that has been fundamental to delineating the structural basis for ion channel function. A phage-display strategy is presented whereby ?1.5 million novel and natural peptides are fabricated on the scaffold present in ShK, a sea anemone type I (SAK1) toxin stabilized by three disulfide bonds. We describe two toxins selected by sorting on purified KcsA, one novel (Hui1, 34 residues) and one natural (HmK, 35 residues). Hui1 is potent, blocking single KcsA channels in planar lipid bilayers half-maximally (Ki) at 1 nM. Hui1 is also specific, inhibiting KcsA-Shaker channels in Xenopus oocytes with a Ki of 0.5 nM whereas Shaker, Kv1.2, and Kv1.3 channels are blocked over 200-fold less well. HmK is potent but promiscuous, blocking KcsA-Shaker, Shaker, Kv1.2, and Kv1.3 channels with Ki of 1-4 nM. As anticipated, one Hui1 blocks the KcsA pore and two conserved toxin residues, Lys21 and Tyr22, are essential for high-affinity binding. Unexpectedly, potassium ions traversing the channel from the inside confer voltage sensitivity to the Hui1 off-rate via Arg23, indicating that Lys21 is not in the pore. The 3D structure of Hui1 reveals a SAK1 fold, rationalizes KcsA inhibition, and validates the scaffold-based approach for isolation of high-affinity toxins for orphan receptors.
Project description:We show here that membrane-tethered toxins facilitate the biophysical study of the roles of toxin residues in K+ channel blockade to reveal two blocking mechanisms in the K+ channel pore. The structure of the sea anemone type I (SAK1) toxin HmK is determined by NMR. T-HmK residues are scanned by point mutation to map the toxin surface, and seven residues are identified to be critical to occlusion of the KcsA channel pore. T-HmK-Lys22 is shown to interact with K+ ions traversing the KcsA pore from the cytoplasm conferring voltage dependence on the toxin off rate, a classic mechanism that we observe as well with HmK in solution and for Kv1.3 channels. In contrast, two related SAK1 toxins, Hui1 and ShK, block KcsA and Kv1.3, respectively, via an arginine rather than the canonical lysine, when tethered and as free peptides.
Project description:Ion conduction and selectivity properties of KcsA, a bacterial ion channel of known structure, were studied in a planar lipid bilayer system at the single-channel level. Selectivity sequences for permeant ions were determined by symmetrical solution conductance (K(+) > Rb(+), NH(4)(+), Tl(+) >> Cs(+), Na(+), Li(+)) and by reversal potentials under bi-ionic or mixed-ion conditions (Tl(+) > K(+) > Rb(+) > NH(4)(+) >> Na(+), Li(+)). Determination of reversal potentials with submillivolt accuracy shows that K(+) is over 150-fold more permeant than Na(+). Variation of conductance with concentration under symmetrical salt conditions is complex, with at least two ion-binding processes revealing themselves: a high affinity process below 20 mM and a low affinity process over the range 100-1,000 mM. These properties are analogous to those seen in many eukaryotic K(+) channels, and they establish KcsA as a faithful structural model for ion permeation in eukaryotic K(+) channels.