Pado, a fluorescent protein with proton channel activity can optically monitor membrane potential, intracellular pH, and map gap junctions.
ABSTRACT: An in silico search strategy was developed to identify potential voltage-sensing domains (VSD) for the development of genetically encoded voltage indicators (GEVIs). Using a conserved charge distribution in the S2 ?-helix, a single in silico search yielded most voltage-sensing proteins including voltage-gated potassium channels, voltage-gated calcium channels, voltage-gated sodium channels, voltage-gated proton channels, and voltage-sensing phosphatases from organisms ranging from mammals to bacteria and plants. A GEVI utilizing the VSD from a voltage-gated proton channel identified from that search was able to optically report changes in membrane potential. In addition this sensor was capable of manipulating the internal pH while simultaneously reporting that change optically since it maintains the voltage-gated proton channel activity of the VSD. Biophysical characterization of this GEVI, Pado, demonstrated that the voltage-dependent signal was distinct from the pH-dependent signal and was dependent on the movement of the S4 ?-helix. Further investigation into the mechanism of the voltage-dependent optical signal revealed that inhibiting the dimerization of the fluorescent protein greatly reduced the optical signal. Dimerization of the FP thereby enabled the movement of the S4 ?-helix to mediate a fluorescent response.
Project description:The voltage sensor domain (VSD) is the key module for voltage sensing in voltage-gated ion channels and voltage-sensing phosphatases. Structurally, both the VSD and the recently discovered voltage-gated proton channels (Hv channels) voltage sensor only protein (VSOP) and Hv1 contain four transmembrane segments. The fourth transmembrane segment (S4) of Hv channels contains three periodically aligned arginines (R1, R2, R3). It remains unknown where protons permeate or how voltage sensing is coupled to ion permeation in Hv channels. Here we report that Hv channels truncated just downstream of R2 in the S4 segment retain most channel properties. Two assays, site-directed cysteine-scanning using accessibility of maleimide-reagent as detected by Western blotting and insertion into dog pancreas microsomes, both showed that S4 inserts into the membrane, even if it is truncated between the R2 and R3 positions. These findings provide important clues to the molecular mechanism underlying voltage sensing and proton permeation in Hv channels.
Project description:The functionally diverse cyclic nucleotide binding domain (CNBD) superfamily of cation channels contains both depolarization-gated (e.g., metazoan EAG family K+ channels) and hyperpolarization-gated channels (e.g., metazoan HCN pacemaker cation channels and the plant K+ channel KAT1). In both types of CNBD channels, the S4 transmembrane helix of the voltage sensor domain (VSD) moves outward in response to depolarization. This movement opens depolarization-gated channels and closes hyperpolarization-gated channels. External divalent cations and protons prevent or slow movement of S4 by binding to a cluster of acidic charges on the S2 and S3 transmembrane domains of the VSD and therefore inhibit activation of EAG family channels. However, a similar divalent ion/proton binding pocket has not been described for hyperpolarization-gated CNBD family channels. We examined the effects of external Cd2+ and protons on Arabidopsisthaliana KAT1 expressed in Xenopus oocytes and found that these ions strongly potentiate voltage activation. Cd2+ at 300 µM depolarizes the V50 of KAT1 by 150 mV, while acidification from pH 7.0 to 4.0 depolarizes the V50 by 49 mV. Regulation of KAT1 by Cd2+ is state dependent and consistent with Cd2+ binding to an S4-down state of the VSD. Neutralization of a conserved acidic charge in the S2 helix in KAT1 (D95N) eliminates Cd2+ and pH sensitivity. Conversely, introduction of acidic residues into KAT1 at additional S2 and S3 cluster positions that are charged in EAG family channels (N99D and Q149E in KAT1) decreases Cd2+ sensitivity and increases proton potentiation. These results suggest that KAT1, and presumably other hyperpolarization-gated plant CNBD channels, can open from an S4-down VSD conformation homologous to the divalent/proton-inhibited conformation of EAG family K+ channels.
Project description:Voltage-gated ion channels (VGICs) contain positively charged residues within the S4 helix of the voltage-sensing domain (VSD) that are displaced in response to changes in transmembrane voltage, promoting conformational changes that open the pore. Pacemaker hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels are unique among VGICs because their open probability is increased by membrane hyperpolarization rather than depolarization. Here we measured the precise movement of the S4 helix of a sea urchin HCN channel using transition metal ion fluorescence resonance energy transfer (tmFRET). We show that the S4 undergoes a substantial (~10?Å) downward movement in response to membrane hyperpolarization. Furthermore, by applying distance constraints determined from tmFRET experiments to Rosetta modeling, we reveal that the carboxy-terminal part of the S4 helix exhibits an unexpected tilting motion during hyperpolarization activation. These data provide a long-sought glimpse of the hyperpolarized state of a functioning VSD and also a framework for understanding the dynamics of reverse gating in HCN channels.
Project description:Voltage-gated K(+) channels comprise a central pore enclosed by four voltage-sensing domains (VSDs). While movement of the S4 helix is known to couple to channel gate opening and closing, the nature of S4 motion is unclear. Here, we substituted S4 residues of Kv7.1 channels by cysteine and recorded whole-cell mutant channel currents in Xenopus oocytes using the two-electrode voltage-clamp technique. In the closed state, disulfide and metal bridges constrain residue S225 (S4) nearby C136 (S1) within the same VSD. In the open state, two neighboring I227 (S4) are constrained at proximity while residue R228 (S4) is confined close to C136 (S1) of an adjacent VSD. Structural modeling predicts that in the closed to open transition, an axial rotation (approximately 190 degrees) and outward translation of S4 (approximately 12 A) is accompanied by VSD rocking. This large sensor motion changes the intra-VSD S1-S4 interaction to an inter-VSD S1-S4 interaction. These constraints provide a ground for cooperative subunit interactions and suggest a key role of the S1 segment in steering S4 motion during Kv7.1 gating.
Project description:Voltage-gated ion channels couple transmembrane potential changes to ion flow. Conformational changes in the voltage-sensing domain (VSD) of the channel are thought to be transmitted to the pore domain (PD) through an α-helical linker between them (S4-S5 linker). However, our recent work on channels disrupted in the S4-S5 linker has challenged this interpretation for the KCNH family. Furthermore, a recent single-particle cryo-electron microscopy structure of K<sub>V</sub>10.1 revealed that the S4-S5 linker is a short loop in this KCNH family member, confirming the need for an alternative gating model. Here we use "split" channels made by expression of VSD and PD as separate fragments to investigate the mechanism of gating in K<sub>V</sub>10.1. We find that disruption of the covalent connection within the S4 helix compromises the ability of channels to close at negative voltage, whereas disconnecting the S4-S5 linker from S5 slows down activation and deactivation kinetics. Surprisingly, voltage-clamp fluorometry and MTS accessibility assays show that the motion of the S4 voltage sensor is virtually unaffected when VSD and PD are not covalently bound. Finally, experiments using constitutively open PD mutants suggest that the presence of the VSD is structurally important for the conducting conformation of the pore. Collectively, our observations offer partial support to the gating model that assumes that an inward motion of the C-terminal S4 helix, rather than the S4-S5 linker, closes the channel gate, while also suggesting that control of the pore by the voltage sensor involves more than one mechanism.
Project description:The topological similarity of voltage-gated proton channels (H(V)1s) to the voltage-sensing domain (VSD) of other voltage-gated ion channels raises the central question of whether H(V)1s have a similar structure. We present the construction and validation of a homology model of the human H(V)1 (hH(V)1). Multiple structural alignment was used to construct structural models of the open (proton-conducting) state of hH(V)1 by exploiting the homology of hH(V)1 with VSDs of K(+) and Na(+) channels of known three-dimensional structure. The comparative assessment of structural stability of the homology models and their VSD templates was performed using massively repeated molecular dynamics simulations in which the proteins were allowed to relax from their initial conformation in an explicit membrane mimetic. The analysis of structural deviations from the initial conformation based on up to 125 repeats of 100-ns simulations for each system reveals structural features consistently retained in the homology models and leads to a consensus structural model for hH(V)1 in which well-defined external and internal salt-bridge networks stabilize the open state. The structural and electrostatic properties of this open-state model are compatible with proton translocation and offer an explanation for the reversal of charge selectivity in neutral mutants of Asp(112). Furthermore, these structural properties are consistent with experimental accessibility data, providing a valuable basis for further structural and functional studies of hH(V)1. Each Arg residue in the S4 helix of hH(V)1 was replaced by His to test accessibility using Zn(2+) as a probe. The two outermost Arg residues in S4 were accessible to external solution, whereas the innermost one was accessible only to the internal solution. Both modeling and experimental data indicate that in the open state, Arg(211), the third Arg residue in the S4 helix in hH(V)1, remains accessible to the internal solution and is located near the charge transfer center, Phe(150).
Project description:Voltage changes across the cell membrane control the gating of many cation-selective ion channels. Conserved from bacteria to humans, the voltage-gated-ligand superfamily of ion channels are encoded as polypeptide chains of six transmembrane-spanning segments (S1-S6). S1-S4 functions as a self-contained voltage-sensing domain (VSD), in essence a positively charged lever that moves in response to voltage changes. The VSD 'ligand' transmits force via a linker to the S5-S6 pore domain 'receptor', thereby opening or closing the channel. The ascidian VSD protein Ci-VSP gates a phosphatase activity rather than a channel pore, indicating that VSDs function independently of ion channels. Here we describe a mammalian VSD protein (H(V)1) that lacks a discernible pore domain but is sufficient for expression of a voltage-sensitive proton-selective ion channel activity. H(v)1 currents are activated at depolarizing voltages, sensitive to the transmembrane pH gradient, H+-selective, and Zn2+-sensitive. Mutagenesis of H(v)1 identified three arginine residues in S4 that regulate channel gating and two histidine residues that are required for extracellular inhibition of H(v)1 by Zn2+. H(v)1 is expressed in immune tissues and manifests the characteristic properties of native proton conductances (G(vH+)). In phagocytic leukocytes, G(vH+) are required to support the oxidative burst that underlies microbial killing by the innate immune system. The data presented here identify H(v)1 as a long-sought voltage-gated H+ channel and establish H(v)1 as the founding member of a family of mammalian VSD proteins.
Project description:Gating pore currents through the voltage-sensing domains (VSDs) of the skeletal muscle voltage-gated sodium channel NaV1.4 underlie hypokalemic periodic paralysis (HypoPP) type 2. Gating modifier toxins target ion channels by modifying the function of the VSDs. We tested the hypothesis that these toxins could function as blockers of the pathogenic gating pore currents. We report that a crab spider toxin Hm-3 from Heriaeus melloteei can inhibit gating pore currents due to mutations affecting the second arginine residue in the S4 helix of VSD-I that we have found in patients with HypoPP and describe here. NMR studies show that Hm-3 partitions into micelles through a hydrophobic cluster formed by aromatic residues and reveal complex formation with VSD-I through electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions with the S3b helix and the S3-S4 extracellular loop. Our data identify VSD-I as a specific binding site for neurotoxins on sodium channels. Gating modifier toxins may constitute useful hits for the treatment of HypoPP.
Project description:Voltage control over enzymatic activity in voltage-sensitive phosphatases (VSPs) is conferred by a voltage-sensing domain (VSD) located in the N terminus. These VSDs are constituted by four putative transmembrane segments (S1 to S4) resembling those found in voltage-gated ion channels. The putative fourth segment (S4) of the VSD contains positive residues that likely function as voltage-sensing elements. To study in detail how these residues sense the plasma membrane potential, we have focused on five arginines in the S4 segment of the Ciona intestinalis VSP (Ci-VSP). After implementing a histidine scan, here we show that four arginine-to-histidine mutants, namely R223H to R232H, mediate voltage-dependent proton translocation across the membrane, indicating that these residues transit through the hydrophobic core of Ci-VSP as a function of the membrane potential. These observations indicate that the charges carried by these residues are sensing charges. Furthermore, our results also show that the electrical field in VSPs is focused in a narrow hydrophobic region that separates the extracellular and intracellular space and constitutes the energy barrier for charge crossing.
Project description:Voltage-activated proteins can sense, and respond to, changes in the electric field pervading the cell membrane by virtue of a transmembrane helix bundle, the voltage-sensing domain (VSD). Canonical VSDs consist of four transmembrane helices (S1-S4) of which S4 is considered a principal component because it possesses charged residues immersed in the electric field. Membrane depolarization compels the charges, and by extension S4, to rearrange with respect to the field. The VSD of large-conductance voltage- and Ca-activated K(+) (BK) channels exhibits two salient inconsistencies from the canonical VSD model: (1) the BK channel VSD possesses an additional nonconserved transmembrane helix (S0); and (2) it exhibits a "decentralized" distribution of voltage-sensing charges, in helices S2 and S3, in addition to S4. Considering these unique features, the voltage-dependent rearrangements of the BK VSD could differ significantly from the standard model of VSD operation. To understand the mode of operation of this unique VSD, we have optically tracked the relative motions of the BK VSD transmembrane helices during activation, by manipulating the quenching environment of site-directed fluorescent labels with native and introduced Trp residues. Having previously reported that S0 and S4 diverge during activation, in this work we demonstrate that S4 also diverges from S1 and S2, whereas S2, compelled by its voltage-sensing charged residues, moves closer to S1. This information contributes spatial constraints for understanding the BK channel voltage-sensing process, revealing the structural rearrangements in a non-canonical VSD.