Molecular Dynamics Simulations of KirBac1.1 Mutants Reveal Global Gating Changes of Kir Channels.
ABSTRACT: Prokaryotic inwardly rectifying (KirBac) potassium channels are homologous to mammalian Kir channels. Their activity is controlled by dynamical conformational changes that regulate ion flow through a central pore. Understanding the dynamical rearrangements of Kir channels during gating requires high-resolution structure information from channels crystallized in different conformations and insight into the transition steps, which are difficult to access experimentally. In this study, we use MD simulations on wild type KirBac1.1 and an activatory mutant to investigate activation gating of KirBac channels. Full atomistic MD simulations revealed that introducing glutamate in position 143 causes significant widening at the helix bundle crossing gate, enabling water flux into the cavity. Further, global rearrangements including a twisting motion as well as local rearrangements at the subunit interface in the cytoplasmic domain were observed. These structural rearrangements are similar to recently reported KirBac3.1 crystal structures in closed and open conformation, suggesting that our simulations capture major conformational changes during KirBac1.1 opening. In addition, an important role of protein-lipid interactions during gating was observed. Slide-helix and C-linker interactions with lipids were strengthened during activation gating.
Project description:The bacterial channel KirBac1.1 provides a structural homolog of mammalian inward rectifier potassium (Kir) channels. The conformational dynamics of the selectivity filter of Kir channels are of some interest in the context of possible permeation and gating mechanisms for this channel. Molecular dynamics simulations of KirBac have been performed on a 10-ns timescale, i.e., comparable to that of ion permeation. The results of five simulations (total simulation time 50 ns) based on three different initial ion configurations and two different model membranes are reported. These simulation data provide evidence for limited (<0.1 nm) filter flexibility during the concerted motion of ions and water molecules within the filter, such local changes in conformation occurring on an approximately 1-ns timescale. In the absence of K(+) ions, the KirBac selectivity filter undergoes more substantial distortions. These resemble those seen in comparable simulations of other channels (e.g., KcsA and KcsA-based homology models) and are likely to lead to functional closure of the channel. This suggests filter distortions may provide a mechanism of K-channel gating in addition to changes in the hydrophobic gate formed at the intracellular crossing point of the M2 helices. The simulation data also provide evidence for interactions of the "slide" (pre-M1) helix of KirBac with phospholipid headgroups.
Project description:The superfamily of prokaryotic inwardly rectifying (KirBac) potassium channels is homologous to mammalian Kir channels. However, relatively little is known about their regulation or about their physiological role in vivo. In this study, we have used random mutagenesis and genetic complementation in K(+)-auxotrophic Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae to identify activatory mutations in a range of different KirBac channels. We also show that the KirBac6.1 gene (slr5078) is necessary for normal growth of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC6803. Functional analysis and molecular dynamics simulations of selected activatory mutations identified regions within the slide helix, transmembrane helices, and C terminus that function as important regulators of KirBac channel activity, as well as a region close to the selectivity filter of KirBac3.1 that may have an effect on gating. In particular, the mutations identified in TM2 favor a model of KirBac channel gating in which opening of the pore at the helix-bundle crossing plays a far more important role than has recently been proposed.
Project description:KirBac channels are prokaryotic homologs of mammalian inwardly rectifying potassium (Kir) channels, and recent structures of KirBac3.1 have provided important insights into the structural basis of gating in Kir channels. In this study, we demonstrate that KirBac3.1 channel activity is strongly pH-dependent, and we used x-ray crystallography to determine the structural changes that arise from an activatory mutation (S205L) located in the cytoplasmic domain (CTD). This mutation stabilizes a novel energetically favorable open conformation in which changes at the intersubunit interface in the CTD also alter the electrostatic potential of the inner cytoplasmic cavity. These results provide a structural explanation for the activatory effect of this mutation and provide a greater insight into the role of the CTD in Kir channel gating.
Project description:ATP-sensitive potassium (K-ATP) channels are ubiquitously expressed on the plasma membrane of cells in several organs, including the heart, pancreas, and brain, and they govern a wide range of physiological processes. In pancreatic β-cells, K-ATP channels composed of Kir6.2 and SUR1 play a key role in coupling blood glucose and insulin secretion. A tryptophan residue located at the cytosolic end of the transmembrane helix is highly conserved in eukaryote and prokaryote Kir channels. Any mutation on this amino acid causes a gain of function and neonatal diabetes mellitus. In this study, we have investigated the effect of mutation on this highly conserved residue on a KirBac channel (prokaryotic homolog of mammalian Kir6.2). We provide the crystal structure of the mutant KirBac3.1 W46R (equivalent to W68R in Kir6.2) and its conformational flexibility properties using HDX-MS. In addition, the detailed dynamical view of the mutant during the gating was investigated using the in silico method. Finally, functional assays have been performed. A comparison of important structural determinants for the gating mechanism between the wild type KirBac and the mutant W46R suggests interesting structural and dynamical clues and a mechanism of action of the mutation that leads to the gain of function.
Project description:The conformational changes required for activation and K+ conduction in inward-rectifier K+ (Kir) channels are still debated. These structural changes are brought about by lipid binding. It is unclear how this process relates to fast gating or if the intracellular and extracellular regions of the protein are coupled. Here, we examine the structural details of KirBac1.1 reconstituted into both POPC and an activating lipid mixture of 3:2 POPC:POPG (wt/wt). KirBac1.1 is a prokaryotic Kir channel that shares homology with human Kir channels. We establish that KirBac1.1 is in a constitutively active state in POPC:POPG bilayers through the use of real-time fluorescence quenching assays and Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) distance measurements. Multidimensional solid-state NMR (SSNMR) spectroscopy experiments reveal two different conformers within the transmembrane regions of the protein in this activating lipid environment, which are distinct from the conformation of the channel in POPC bilayers. The differences between these three distinct channel states highlight conformational changes associated with an open activation gate and suggest a unique allosteric pathway that ties the selectivity filter to the activation gate through interactions between both transmembrane helices, the turret, selectivity filter loop, and the pore helix. We also identify specific residues involved in this conformational exchange that are highly conserved among human Kir channels.
Project description:Cholesterol is the major sterol component of all mammalian plasma membranes. Recent studies have shown that cholesterol inhibits both bacterial (KirBac1.1 and KirBac3.1) and eukaryotic (Kir2.1) inward rectifier K(+) (Kir) channels. Lipid-sterol interactions are not enantioselective, and the enantiomer of cholesterol (ent-cholesterol) does not inhibit Kir channel activity, suggesting that inhibition results from direct enantiospecific binding to the channel, and not indirect effects of changes to the bilayer. Furthermore, conservation of the effect of cholesterol among prokaryotic and eukaryotic Kir channels suggests an evolutionary conserved cholesterol-binding pocket, which we aimed to identify. Computational experiments were performed by docking cholesterol to the atomic structures of Kir2.2 (PDB: 3SPI) and KirBac1.1 (PDB: 2WLL) using Autodock 4.2. Poses were assessed to ensure biologically relevant orientation and then clustered according to location and orientation. The stability of cholesterol in each of these poses was then confirmed by molecular dynamics simulations. Finally, mutation of key residues (S95H and I171L) in this putative binding pocket found within the transmembrane domain of Kir2.1 channels were shown to lead to a loss of inhibition by cholesterol. Together, these data provide support for this location as a biologically relevant pocket.
Project description:Our earlier studies have shown that channel activity of Kir2 subfamily of inward rectifiers is strongly suppressed by the elevation of cellular cholesterol. The goal of this study is to determine whether cholesterol suppresses Kir channels directly. To achieve this goal, purified prokaryotic Kir (KirBac1.1) channels were incorporated into liposomes of defined lipid composition, and channel activity was assayed by (86)Rb(+) uptake. Our results show that (86)Rb(+) flux through KirBac1.1 is strongly inhibited by cholesterol. Incorporation of 5% (mass cholesterol/phospholipid) cholesterol into the liposome suppresses (86)Rb(+) flux by >50%, and activity is completely inhibited at 12-15%. However, epicholesterol, a stereoisomer of cholesterol with similar physical properties, has significantly less effect on KirBac-mediated (86)Rb(+) uptake than cholesterol. Furthermore, analysis of multiple sterols suggests that cholesterol-induced inhibition of KirBac1.1 channels is mediated by specific interactions rather than by changes in the physical properties of the lipid bilayer. In contrast to the inhibition of KirBac1.1 activity, cholesterol had no effect on the activity of reconstituted KscA channels (at up to 250 microg/mg of phospholipid). Taken together, these observations demonstrate that cholesterol suppresses Kir channels in a pure protein-lipid environment and suggest that the interaction is direct and specific.
Project description:KirBac channels are prokaryotic homologs of mammalian inwardly rectifying (Kir) potassium channels, and recent crystal structures of both Kir and KirBac channels have provided major insight into their unique structural architecture. However, all of the available structures are closed at the helix bundle crossing, and therefore the structural mechanisms that control opening of their primary activation gate remain unknown. In this study, we engineered the inner pore-lining helix (TM2) of KirBac3.1 to trap the bundle crossing in an apparently open conformation and determined the crystal structure of this mutant channel to 3.05 Å resolution. Contrary to previous speculation, this new structure suggests a mechanistic model in which rotational 'twist' of the cytoplasmic domain is coupled to opening of the bundle-crossing gate through a network of inter- and intrasubunit interactions that involve the TM2 C-linker, slide helix, G-loop and the CD loop.
Project description:The defining structural feature of inward-rectifier potassium (Kir) channels is the unique Kir cytoplasmic domain. Recently we showed that salt bridges located at the cytoplasmic domain subunit interfaces (CD-Is) of eukaryotic Kir channels control channel gating via stability of a novel inactivated closed state. The cytoplasmic domains of prokaryotic and eukaryotic Kir channels show similar conformational rearrangements to the common gating ligand, phosphatidylinositol bisphosphate (PIP2), although these exhibit opposite coupling to opening and closing transitions. In Kir2.1, mutation of one of these CD-I salt bridge residues (R204A) reduces apparent PIP2 sensitivity of channel activity, and here we show that Ala or Cys substitutions of the functionally equivalent residue (Arg-165) in the prokaryotic Kir channel KirBac1.1 also significantly decrease sensitivity of the channel to PIP2 (by 5-30-fold). To further understand the structural basis of CD-I control of Kir channel gating, we examined the effect of the R165A mutation on PIP2-induced changes in channel function and conformation. Single-channel analyses indicated that the R165A mutation disrupts the characteristic long interburst closed state of reconstituted KirBac1.1 in giant liposomes, resulting in a higher open probability due to more frequent opening bursts. Intramolecular FRET measurements indicate that, relative to wild-type channels, the R165A mutation results in splaying of the cytoplasmic domains away from the central axis and that PIP2 essentially induces opposite motions of the major ?-sheet in this channel mutant. We conclude that the removal of stabilizing CD-I salt bridges results in a collapsed state of the Kir domain.
Project description:Inward rectifier potassium (Kir) channels are physiologically regulated by a wide range of ligands that all act on a common gate, although structural details of gating are unclear. Here we show, using small molecule fluorescent probes attached to introduced cysteines, the molecular motions associated with gating of KirBac1.1 channels. The accessibility of the probes indicates a major barrier to fluorophore entry to the inner cavity. Changes in fluorescence resonance energy transfer between fluorophores, attached to KirBac1.1 tetramers, show that phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate-induced closure involves tilting and rotational motions of secondary structural elements of the cytoplasmic domain that couple ligand binding to a narrowing of the cytoplasmic vestibule. The observed ligand-dependent conformational changes in KirBac1.1 provide a general model for ligand-induced Kir channel gating at the molecular level.