Single-molecule study of full-length NaChBac by planar lipid bilayer recording.
ABSTRACT: Planar lipid bilayer device, alternatively known as BLM, is a powerful tool to study functional properties of conducting membrane proteins such as ion channels and porins. In this work, we used BLM to study the prokaryotic voltage-gated sodium channel (Nav) NaChBac in a well-defined membrane environment. Navs are an essential component for the generation and propagation of electric signals in excitable cells. The successes in the biochemical, biophysical and crystallographic studies on prokaryotic Navs in recent years has greatly promoted the understanding of the molecular mechanism that underlies these proteins and their eukaryotic counterparts. In this work, we investigated the single-molecule conductance and ionic selectivity behavior of NaChBac. Purified NaChBac protein was first reconstituted into lipid vesicles, which is subsequently incorporated into planar lipid bilayer by fusion. At single-molecule level, we were able to observe three distinct long-lived conductance sub-states of NaChBac. Change in the membrane potential switches on the channel mainly by increasing its opening probability. In addition, we found that individual NaChBac has similar permeability for Na+, K+, and Ca2+. The single-molecule behavior of the full-length protein is essentially highly stochastic. Our results show that planar lipid bilayer device can be used to study purified ion channels at single-molecule level in an artificial environment, and such studies can reveal new protein properties that are otherwise not observable in in vivo ensemble studies.
Project description:Propofol is widely used in the clinic for the induction and maintenance of general anesthesia. As with most general anesthetics, however, our understanding of its mechanism of action remains incomplete. Local and general anesthetics largely inhibit voltage-gated Na+ channels (Navs) by inducing an apparent stabilization of the inactivated state, associated in some instances with pore block. To determine the biophysical and molecular basis of propofol action in Navs, we investigated NaChBac and NavMs, two prokaryotic Navs with distinct voltage dependencies and gating kinetics, by whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology in the absence and presence of propofol at clinically relevant concentrations (2-10 µM). In both Navs, propofol induced a hyperpolarizing shift of the pre-pulse inactivation curve without any significant effects on recovery from inactivation at strongly hyperpolarized voltages, demonstrating that propofol does not stabilize the inactivated state. Moreover, there was no evidence of fast or slow pore block by propofol in a non-inactivating NaChBac mutant (T220A). Propofol also induced hyperpolarizing shifts of the conductance-voltage relationships with negligible effects on the time constants of deactivation at hyperpolarized voltages, indicating that propofol does not stabilize the open state. Instead, propofol decreases the time constants of macroscopic activation and inactivation. Adopting a kinetic scheme of Nav gating that assumes preferential closed-state recovery from inactivation, a 1.7-fold acceleration of the rate constant of activation and a 1.4-fold acceleration of the rate constant of inactivation were sufficient to reproduce experimental observations with computer simulations. In addition, molecular dynamics simulations and molecular docking suggest that propofol binding involves interactions with gating machinery in the S4-S5 linker and external pore regions. Our findings show that propofol is primarily a positive gating modulator of prokaryotic Navs, which ultimately inhibits the channels by promoting activation-coupled inactivation.
Project description:Exploring the interaction of ligands with voltage-gated sodium channels (NaVs) has advanced our understanding of their pharmacology. Herein, we report the purification and characterization of a novel non-selective mammalian and bacterial NaVs toxin, JZTx-14, from the venom of the spider Chilobrachys jingzhao. This toxin potently inhibited the peak currents of mammalian NaV1.2?1.8 channels and the bacterial NaChBac channel with low IC50 values (<1 µM), and it mainly inhibited the fast inactivation of the NaV1.9 channel. Analysis of NaV1.5/NaV1.9 chimeric channel showed that the NaV1.5 domain II S3?4 loop is involved in toxin association. Kinetics data obtained from studying toxin?NaV1.2 channel interaction showed that JZTx-14 was a gating modifier that possibly trapped the channel in resting state; however, it differed from site 4 toxin HNTx-III by irreversibly blocking NaV currents and showing state-independent binding with the channel. JZTx-14 might stably bind to a conserved toxin pocket deep within the NaV1.2?1.8 domain II voltage sensor regardless of channel conformation change, and its effect on NaVs requires the toxin to trap the S3?4 loop in its resting state. For the NaChBac channel, JZTx-14 positively shifted its conductance-voltage (G?V) and steady-state inactivation relationships. An alanine scan analysis of the NaChBac S3?4 loop revealed that the 108th phenylalanine (F108) was the key residue determining the JZTx-14?NaChBac interaction. In summary, this study provided JZTx-14 with potent but promiscuous inhibitory activity on both the ancestor bacterial NaVs and the highly evolved descendant mammalian NaVs, and it is a useful probe to understand the pharmacology of NaVs.
Project description:Nanoscale transport through nanopores and live-cell membranes plays a vital role in both key biological processes as well as biosensing and DNA sequencing. Active translocation of DNA through these nanopores usually needs enzyme assistance. Here we present a nanopore derived from truncated helicase E1 of bovine papillomavirus (BPV) with a lumen diameter of c.a. 1.3?nm. Cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) imaging and single channel recording confirm its insertion into planar lipid bilayer (BLM). The helicase nanopore in BLM allows the passive single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) transport and retains the helicase activity in vitro. Furthermore, we incorporate this helicase nanopore into the live cell membrane of HEK293T cells, and monitor the ssDNA delivery into the cell real-time at single molecule level. This type of nanopore is expected to provide an interesting tool to study the biophysics of biomotors in vitro, with potential applications in biosensing, drug delivery and real-time single cell analysis.
Project description:Voltage-gated sodium channels (NaVs) and calcium channels (CaVs) are involved in electrical signaling, contraction, secretion, synaptic transmission, and other physiological processes activated in response to depolarization. Despite their physiological importance, the structures of these closely related proteins have remained elusive because of their size and complexity. Bacterial NaVs have structures analogous to a single domain of eukaryotic NaVs and CaVs and are their likely evolutionary ancestor. Here we review recent work that has led to new understanding of NaVs and CaVs through high-resolution structural studies of their prokaryotic ancestors. New insights into their voltage-dependent activation and inactivation, ion conductance, and ion selectivity provide realistic structural models for the function of these complex membrane proteins at the atomic level.
Project description:Voltage-gated, sodium ion-selective channels (NaV) generate electrical signals contributing to the upstroke of the action potential in animals. NaVs are also found in bacteria and are members of a larger family of tetrameric voltage-gated channels that includes CaVs, KVs, and NaVs. Prokaryotic NaVs likely emerged from a homotetrameric Ca2+-selective voltage-gated progenerator, and later developed Na+ selectivity independently. The NaV signaling complex in eukaryotes contains auxiliary proteins, termed beta (?) subunits, which are potent modulators of the expression profiles and voltage-gated properties of the NaV pore, but it is unknown whether they can functionally interact with prokaryotic NaV channels. Herein, we report that the eukaryotic NaV?1-subunit isoform interacts with and enhances the surface expression as well as the voltage-dependent gating properties of the bacterial NaV, NaChBac in Xenopus oocytes. A phylogenetic analysis of the ?-subunit gene family proteins confirms that these proteins appeared roughly 420 million years ago and that they have no clear homologues in bacterial phyla. However, a comparison between eukaryotic and bacterial NaV structures highlighted the presence of a conserved fold, which could support interactions with the ?-subunit. Our electrophysiological, biochemical, structural, and bioinformatics results suggests that the prerequisites for ?-subunit regulation are an evolutionarily stable and intrinsic property of some voltage-gated channels.
Project description:Voltage-gated sodium channels (NaVs) play fundamental roles in eukaryotes, but their exceptional size hinders their structural resolution. Bacterial NaVs are simplified homologues of their eukaryotic counterparts, but their use as models of eukaryotic Na<sup>+</sup> channels is limited by their homotetrameric structure at odds with the asymmetric Selectivity Filter (SF) of eukaryotic NaVs. This work aims at mimicking the SF of eukaryotic NaVs by engineering radial asymmetry into the SF of bacterial channels. This goal was pursued with two approaches: the co-expression of different monomers of the NaChBac bacterial channel to induce the random assembly of heterotetramers, and the concatenation of four bacterial monomers to form a concatemer that can be targeted by site-specific mutagenesis. Patch-clamp measurements and Molecular Dynamics simulations showed that an additional gating charge in the SF leads to a significant increase in Na<sup>+</sup> and a modest increase in the Ca<sup>2+</sup> conductance in the NavMs concatemer in agreement with the behavior of the population of random heterotetramers with the highest proportion of channels with charge -5<i>e</i>. We thus showed that charge, despite being important, is not the only determinant of conduction and selectivity, and we created new tools extending the use of bacterial channels as models of eukaryotic counterparts.
Project description:There have been only a few studies reporting on the impact of polyhistidine affinity tags on the structure, function, and dynamics of proteins. Because of the relatively short size of the tags, they are often thought to have little or no effect on the conformation or activity of a protein. Here, using membrane protein design and single-molecule electrophysiology, we determined that the presence of a hexahistidine arm at the N-terminus of a truncated FhuA-based protein nanopore, leaving the C-terminus untagged, produces an unusual increase in the unitary conductance to ?8 nS in 1 M KCl. To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest single-channel conductance ever recorded with a monomeric ?-barrel outer membrane protein. The hexahistidine arm was captured by an anti-polyhistidine tag monoclonal antibody added to the side of the channel-forming protein addition, but not to the opposite side, documenting that this truncated FhuA-based protein nanopore inserts into a planar lipid bilayer with a preferred orientation. This finding is in agreement with the protein insertion in vivo, in which the large loops face the extracellular side of the membrane. The aberrantly large single-channel conductance, likely induced by a greater cross-sectional area of the pore lumen, along with the vectorial insertion into a lipid membrane, will have profound implications for further developments of engineered protein nanopores.
Project description:A diverse range of molecular interactions can occur between engineered nanomaterials (ENM) and biomembranes, some of which could lead to toxic outcomes following human exposure to ENM. In this study, we adapted electrophysiology methods to investigate the ability of 20nm polystyrene nanoparticles (PNP) to induce pores in model bilayer lipid membranes (BLM) that mimic biomembranes. PNP charge was varied using PNP decorated with either positive (amidine) groups or negative (carboxyl) groups, and BLM charge was varied using dioleoyl phospholipids having cationic (ethylphosphocholine), zwitterionic (phosphocholine), or anionic (phosphatidic acid) headgroups. Both positive and negative PNP induced BLM pores for all lipid compositions studied, as evidenced by current spikes and integral conductance. Stable PNP-induced pores exhibited ion selectivity, with the highest selectivity for K(+) (PK/PCl~8.3) observed when both the PNP and lipids were negatively charged, and the highest selectivity for Cl(-) (PK/PCl~0.2) observed when both the PNP and lipids were positively charged. This trend is consistent with the finding that selectivity for an ion in channel proteins is imparted by oppositely charged functional groups within the channel's filter region. The PK/PCl value was unaffected by the voltage-ramp method, the pore conductance, or the side of the BLM to which the PNP were applied. These results demonstrate for the first time that PNP can induce ion-selective pores in BLM, and that the degree of ion selectivity is influenced synergistically by the charges of both the lipid headgroups and functional groups on the PNP.
Project description:The vacuolar H(+)-ATPase (V-ATPase) is a rotary motor enzyme that acidifies intracellular organelles and the extracellular milieu in some tissues. Besides its canonical proton-pumping function, V-ATPase's membrane sector, Vo, has been implicated in non-canonical functions including membrane fusion and neurotransmitter release. Here, we report purification and biophysical characterization of yeast V-ATPase c subunit ring (c-ring) using electron microscopy and single-molecule electrophysiology. We find that yeast c-ring forms dimers mediated by the c subunits' cytoplasmic loops. Electrophysiology measurements of the c-ring reconstituted into a planar lipid bilayer revealed a large unitary conductance of ~8.3?nS. Thus, the data support a role of V-ATPase c-ring in membrane fusion and neuronal communication.
Project description:Direct structural insights on the fundamental mechanisms of permeation, selectivity, and gating remain unavailable for the Na(+) and Ca(2+) channel families. Here, we report the spectroscopic structural characterization of the isolated Voltage-Sensor Domain (VSD) of the prokaryotic Na(+) channel NaChBac in a lipid bilayer. Site-directed spin-labeling and EPR spectroscopy were carried out for 118 mutants covering all of the VSD. EPR environmental data were used to unambiguously assign the secondary structure elements, define membrane insertion limits, and evaluate the activated conformation of the isolated-VSD in the membrane using restrain-driven molecular dynamics simulations. The overall three-dimensional fold of the NaChBac-VSD closely mirrors those seen in KvAP, Kv1.2, Kv1.2-2.1 chimera, and MlotiK1. However, in comparison to the membrane-embedded KvAP-VSD, the structural dynamics of the NaChBac-VSD reveals a much tighter helix packing, with subtle differences in the local environment of the gating charges and their interaction with the rest of the protein. Using cell complementation assays we show that the NaChBac-VSD can provide a conduit to the transport of ions in the resting or "down" conformation, a feature consistent with our EPR water accessibility measurements in the activated or "up" conformation. These results suggest that the overall architecture of VSD's is remarkably conserved among K(+) and Na(+) channels and that pathways for gating-pore currents may be intrinsic to most voltage-sensors. Cell complementation assays also provide information about the putative location of the gating charges in the "down/resting" state and hence a glimpse of the extent of conformational changes during activation.