CRYPTOCHROME-mediated phototransduction by modulation of the potassium ion channel ?-subunit redox sensor.
ABSTRACT: Blue light activation of the photoreceptor CRYPTOCHROME (CRY) evokes rapid depolarization and increased action potential firing in a subset of circadian and arousal neurons in Drosophila melanogaster. Here we show that acute arousal behavioral responses to blue light significantly differ in mutants lacking CRY, as well as mutants with disrupted opsin-based phototransduction. Light-activated CRY couples to membrane depolarization via a well conserved redox sensor of the voltage-gated potassium (K(+)) channel ?-subunit (Kv?) Hyperkinetic (Hk). The neuronal light response is almost completely absent in hk(-/-) mutants, but is functionally rescued by genetically targeted neuronal expression of WT Hk, but not by Hk point mutations that disable Hk redox sensor function. Multiple K(+) channel ?-subunits that coassemble with Hk, including Shaker, Ether-a-go-go, and Ether-a-go-go-related gene, are ion conducting channels for CRY/Hk-coupled light response. Light activation of CRY is transduced to membrane depolarization, increased firing rate, and acute behavioral responses by the Kv? subunit redox sensor.
Project description:Light-responsive neural activity in central brain neurons is generally conveyed through opsin-based signaling from external photoreceptors. Large lateral ventral arousal neurons (lLNvs) in Drosophila melanogaster increase action potential firing within seconds in response to light in the absence of all opsin-based photoreceptors. Light-evoked changes in membrane resting potential occur in about 100 milliseconds. The light response is selective for blue wavelengths corresponding to the spectral sensitivity of CRYPTOCHROME (CRY). cry-null lines are light-unresponsive, but restored CRY expression in the lLNv rescues responsiveness. Furthermore, expression of CRY in neurons that are normally unresponsive to light confers responsiveness. The CRY-mediated light response requires a flavin redox-based mechanism and depends on potassium channel conductance, but is independent of the classical circadian CRY-TIMELESS interaction.
Project description:The fundamental principles underlying voltage sensing, a hallmark feature of electrically excitable cells, are still enigmatic and the subject of intense scrutiny and controversy. Here we show that a novel prokaryotic voltage-gated K(+) (Kv) channel from Listeria monocytogenes (KvLm) embodies a rudimentary, yet robust, sensor sufficient to endow it with voltage-dependent features comparable to those of eukaryotic Kv channels. The most conspicuous feature of the KvLm sequence is the nature of the sensor components: the motif is recognizable; it appears, however, to contain only three out of eight charged residues known to be conserved in eukaryotic Kv channels and accepted to be deterministic for folding and sensing. Despite the atypical sensor sequence, flux assays of KvLm reconstituted in liposomes disclosed a channel pore that is highly selective for K(+) and is blocked by conventional Kv channel blockers. Single-channel currents recorded in symmetric K(+) solutions from patches of enlarged Escherichia coli (spheroplasts) expressing KvLm showed that channel open probability sharply increases with depolarization, a hallmark feature of Kv channels. The identification of a voltage sensor module in KvLm with a voltage dependence comparable to that of other eukaryotic Kv channels yet encoded by a sequence that departs significantly from the consensus sequence of a eukaryotic voltage sensor establishes a molecular blueprint of a minimal sequence for a voltage sensor.
Project description:Voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channels coordinate electrical signalling and control cell volume by gating in response to membrane depolarization or hyperpolarization. However, although voltage-sensing domains transduce transmembrane electric field changes by a common mechanism involving the outward or inward translocation of gating charges1-3, the general determinants of channel gating polarity remain poorly understood4. Here we suggest a molecular mechanism for electromechanical coupling and gating polarity in non-domain-swapped Kv channels on the basis of the cryo-electron microscopy structure of KAT1, the hyperpolarization-activated Kv channel from Arabidopsis thaliana. KAT1 displays a depolarized voltage sensor, which interacts with a closed pore domain directly via two interfaces and indirectly via an intercalated phospholipid. Functional evaluation of KAT1 structure-guided mutants at the sensor-pore interfaces suggests a mechanism in which direct interaction between the sensor and the C-linker hairpin in the adjacent pore subunit is the primary determinant of gating polarity. We suggest that an inward motion of the S4 sensor helix of approximately 5-7 Å can underlie a direct-coupling mechanism, driving a conformational reorientation of the C-linker and ultimately opening the activation gate formed by the S6 intracellular bundle. This direct-coupling mechanism contrasts with allosteric mechanisms proposed for hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channels5, and may represent an unexpected link between depolarization- and hyperpolarization-activated channels.
Project description:Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels are essential for rhythmic activity in the heart and brain, and mutations in HCN channels are linked to heart arrhythmia and epilepsy. HCN channels belong to the family of voltage-gated K+ (Kv) channels. However, why HCN channels are activated by hyperpolarization whereas Kv channels are activated by depolarization is not clear. Here we reverse the voltage dependence of HCN channels by mutating only two residues located at the interface between the voltage sensor and the pore domain such that the channels now open upon depolarization instead of hyperpolarization. Our data indicate that what determines whether HCN channels open by hyperpolarizations or depolarizations are small differences in the energies of the closed and open states, due to different interactions between the voltage sensor and the pore in the different channels.
Project description:Genetic and physiological studies of the Drosophila Hyperkinetic (Hk) mutant revealed defects in the function or regulation of K+ channels encoded by the Shaker (Sh) locus. The Hk polypeptide, determined from analysis of cDNA clones, is a homologue of mammalian K+ channel beta subunits (Kv beta). Coexpression of Hk with Sh in Xenopus oocytes increases current amplitudes and changes the voltage dependence and kinetics of activation and inactivation, consistent with predicted functions of Hk in vivo. Sequence alignments show that Hk, together with mammalian Kv beta, represents an additional branch of the aldo-keto reductase superfamily. These results are relevant to understanding the function and evolutionary origin of Kv beta.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:The ether-à-go-go (Eag) Kv superfamily comprises closely related Kv 10, Kv 11, and Kv 12 subunits. Kv 11.1 (termed hERG in humans) gained much attention, as drug-induced inhibition of these channels is a frequent cause of sudden death in humans. The exclusive drug sensitivity of Kv 11.1 can be explained by central drug-binding pockets that are absent in most other channels. Currently, it is unknown whether Kv 12 channels are equipped with an analogous drug-binding pocket and whether drug-binding properties are conserved in all Eag superfamily members. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH:We analysed sensitivity of recombinant Kv 12.1 channels to quinine, a substituted quinoline that blocks Kv 10.1 and Kv 11.1 at low micromolar concentrations. KEY RESULTS:Quinine inhibited Kv 12.1, but its affinity was 10-fold lower than for Kv 11.1. Contrary to Kv 11.1, quinine inhibited Kv 12.1 in a largely voltage-independent manner and induced channel opening at more depolarised potentials. Low sensitivity of Kv 12.1 and characteristics of quinine-dependent inhibition were determined by histidine 462, as site-directed mutagenesis of this residue into the homologous tyrosine of Kv 11.1 conferred Kv 11.1-like quinine block to Kv 12.1(H462Y). Molecular modelling demonstrated that the low affinity of Kv 12.1 was determined by only weak interactions of residues in the central cavity with quinine. In contrast, more favourable interactions can explain the higher quinine sensitivity of Kv 12.1(H462Y) and Kv 11.1 channels. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:The quinoline-binding "motif" is not conserved within the Eag superfamily, although the overall architecture of these channels is apparently similar. Our findings highlight functional and pharmacological diversity in this group of evolutionary-conserved channels.
Project description:N-(6-aminohexyl)-5-chloro-1-naphthalene sulphonamide (W-7) is a well-known calmodulin inhibitor used to study calmodulin regulation of intracellular Ca(2+) signalling-related process. Here, we have determined whether W-7 would inhibit human ether gene (hERG or K(v) 11.1) potassium channels, hK(v) 1.5 channels or hK(IR) 2.1 channels expressed in human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells.The hERG channel current, hK(v) 1.5 channel current or hK(IR) 2.1 channel current was recorded with a whole-cell patch clamp technique.It was found that the calmodulin inhibitor W-7 blocked hERG, hK(v) 1.5 and hK(IR) 2.1 channels. W-7 decreased the hERG current (I(hERG) ) in a concentration-dependent manner (IC(50) : 3.5 µM), and the inhibition was more significant at depolarization potentials between +10 and +60 mV. The hERG mutations in the S6 region Y652A and F656V, and in the pore helix S631A, had the IC(50) s of 5.5, 9.8 and 25.4 µM respectively. In addition, the compound inhibited hK(v) 1.5 and hK(IR) 2.1 channels with IC(50) s of 6.5 and 13.4 µM respectively.These results indicate that the calmodulin inhibitor W-7 exerts a direct channel-blocking effect on hERG, hK(v) 1.5 and hK(IR) 2.1 channels stably expressed in HEK 293 cells. Caution should be taken in the interpretation of calmodulin regulation of ion channels with W-7.
Project description:Voltage-gated ion channels play a central role in the generation of action potentials in the nervous system. They are selective for one type of ion - sodium, calcium, or potassium. Voltage-gated ion channels are composed of a central pore that allows ions to pass through the membrane and four peripheral voltage sensing domains that respond to changes in the membrane potential. Upon depolarization, voltage sensors in voltage-gated potassium channels (Kv) undergo conformational changes driven by positive charges in the S4 segment and aided by pairwise electrostatic interactions with the surrounding voltage sensor. Structure-function relations of Kv channels have been investigated in detail, and the resulting models on the movement of the voltage sensors now converge to a consensus; the S4 segment undergoes a combined movement of rotation, tilt, and vertical displacement in order to bring 3-4e(+) each through the electric field focused in this region. Nevertheless, the mechanism by which the voltage sensor movement leads to pore opening, the electromechanical coupling, is still not fully understood. Thus, recently, electromechanical coupling in different Kv channels has been investigated with a multitude of techniques including electrophysiology, 3D crystal structures, fluorescence spectroscopy, and molecular dynamics simulations. Evidently, the S4-S5 linker, the covalent link between the voltage sensor and pore, plays a crucial role. The linker transfers the energy from the voltage sensor movement to the pore domain via an interaction with the S6 C-termini, which are pulled open during gating. In addition, other contact regions have been proposed. This review aims to provide (i) an in-depth comparison of the molecular mechanisms of electromechanical coupling in different Kv channels; (ii) insight as to how the voltage sensor and pore domain influence one another; and (iii) theoretical predictions on the movement of the cytosolic face of the Kv channels during gating.
Project description:Drosophila CRYPTOCHROME (dCRY) mediates electrophysiological depolarization and circadian clock resetting in response to blue or ultraviolet (UV) light. These light-evoked biological responses operate at different timescales and possibly through different mechanisms. Whether electron transfer down a conserved chain of tryptophan residues underlies biological responses following dCRY light activation has been controversial. To examine these issues in in vivo and in ex vivo whole-brain preparations, we generated transgenic flies expressing tryptophan mutant dCRYs in the conserved electron transfer chain and then measured neuronal electrophysiological phototransduction and behavioral responses to light. Electrophysiological-evoked potential analysis shows that dCRY mediates UV and blue-light-evoked depolarizations that are long lasting, persisting for nearly a minute. Surprisingly, dCRY appears to mediate red-light-evoked depolarization in wild-type flies, absent in both cry-null flies, and following acute treatment with the flavin-specific inhibitor diphenyleneiodonium in wild-type flies. This suggests a previously unsuspected functional signaling role for a neutral semiquinone flavin state (FADH•) for dCRY. The W420 tryptophan residue located closest to the FAD-dCRY interaction site is critical for blue- and UV-light-evoked electrophysiological responses, while other tryptophan residues within electron transfer distance to W420 do not appear to be required for light-evoked electrophysiological responses. Mutation of the dCRY tryptophan residue W342, more distant from the FAD interaction site, mimics the cry-null behavioral light response to constant light exposure. These data indicate that light-evoked dCRY electrical depolarization and clock resetting are mediated by distinct mechanisms.
Project description:The nematode pharynx has a potassium channel with unusual properties, which allows the muscles to repolarize quickly and with the proper delay. Here, the Caenorhabditis elegans exp-2 gene is shown to encode this channel. EXP-2 is a Kv-type (voltage-activated) potassium channel that has inward-rectifying properties resembling those of the structurally dissimilar human ether-à-go-go-related gene (HERG) channel. Null and gain-of-function mutations affect pharyngeal muscle excitability in ways that are consistent with the electrophysiological behavior of the channel, and thereby demonstrate a direct link between the kinetics of this unusual channel and behavior.