The Role of Proton Transport in Gating Current in a Voltage Gated Ion Channel, as Shown by Quantum Calculations.
ABSTRACT: Over two-thirds of a century ago, Hodgkin and Huxley proposed the existence of voltage gated ion channels (VGICs) to carry Na? and K? ions across the cell membrane to create the nerve impulse, in response to depolarization of the membrane. The channels have multiple physiological roles, and play a central role in a wide variety of diseases when they malfunction. The first channel structure was found by MacKinnon and coworkers in 1998. Subsequently, the structure of a number of VGICs was determined in the open (ion conducting) state. This type of channel consists of four voltage sensing domains (VSDs), each formed from four transmembrane (TM) segments, plus a pore domain through which ions move. Understanding the gating mechanism (how the channel opens and closes) requires structures. One TM segment (S4) has an arginine in every third position, with one such segment per domain. It is usually assumed that these arginines are all ionized, and in the resting state are held toward the intracellular side of the membrane by voltage across the membrane. They are assumed to move outward (extracellular direction) when released by depolarization of this voltage, producing a capacitive gating current and opening the channel. We suggest alternate interpretations of the evidence that led to these models. Measured gating current is the total charge displacement of all atoms in the VSD; we propose that the prime, but not sole, contributor is proton motion, not displacement of the charges on the arginines of S4. It is known that the VSD can conduct protons. Quantum calculations on the Kv1.2 potassium channel VSD show how; the key is the amphoteric nature of the arginine side chain, which allows it to transfer a proton. This appears to be the first time the arginine side chain has had its amphoteric character considered. We have calculated one such proton transfer in detail: this proton starts from a tyrosine that can ionize, transferring to the NE of the third arginine on S4; that arginine's NH then transfers a proton to a glutamate. The backbone remains static. A mutation predicted to affect the proton transfer has been qualitatively confirmed experimentally, from the change in the gating current-voltage curve. The total charge displacement in going from a normal closed potential of -70 mV across the membrane to 0 mV (open), is calculated to be approximately consistent with measured values, although the error limits on the calculation require caution in interpretation.
Project description:The voltage sensor domain (VSD) has long been studied as a unique domain intrinsic to voltage-gated ion channels (VGICs). Within VGICs, the VSD is tightly coupled to the pore-gate domain (PGD) in diverse ways suitable for its specific function in each physiological context, including action potential generation, muscle contraction and relaxation, hormone and neurotransmitter secretion, and cardiac pacemaking. However, some VSD-containing proteins lack a PGD. Voltage-sensing phosphatase contains a cytoplasmic phosphoinositide phosphatase with similarity to phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN). Hv1, a voltage-gated proton channel, also lacks a PGD. Within Hv1, the VSD operates as a voltage sensor, gate, and pore for both proton sensing and permeation. Hv1 has a C-terminal coiled coil that mediates dimerization for cooperative gating. Recent progress in the structural biology of VGICs and VSD proteins provides insights into the principles of VSD coupling conserved among these proteins as well as the hierarchy of protein organization for voltage-evoked cell signaling.
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 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:The gating mechanism of voltage sensitive ion channels is generally considered to be the motion of the S4 transmembrane segment of the voltage sensing domains (VSD). The primary supporting evidence came from R ? C mutations on the S4 transmembrane segment of the VSD, followed by reaction with a methanethiosulfonate (MTS) reagent. The cys side chain is -SH (reactive form -S-); the arginine side chain is much larger, leaving space big enough to accommodate the MTS sulfonate head group. The cavity created by the mutation has space for up to seven more water molecules than were present in wild type, which could be displaced irreversibly by the MTS reagent. Our quantum calculations show there is major reorientation of three aromatic residues that face into the cavity in response to proton displacement within the VSD. Two phenylalanines reorient sufficiently to shield/unshield the cysteine from the intracellular and extracellular ends, depending on the proton positions, and a tyrosine forms a hydrogen bond to the cysteine sulfur with its side chain -OH. These could produce the results of the experiments that have been interpreted as evidence for physical motion of the S4 segment, without physical motion of the S4 backbone. The computations strongly suggest that the interpretation of cysteine substitution reaction experiments be re-examined in the light of these considerations.
Project description:The atomic models of the Kv1.2 potassium channel in the active and resting state, originally presented elsewhere, are here refined using molecular dynamics simulations in an explicit membrane-solvent environment. With a minor adjustment of the orientation of the first arginine along the S4 segment, the total gating charge of the channel determined from >0.5 mus of molecular dynamics simulation is approximately 12-12.7 e, in good accord with experimental estimates for the Shaker potassium channel, indicating that the final models offer a realistic depiction of voltage-gating. In the resting state of Kv1.2, the S4 segment in the voltage-sensing domain (VSD) spontaneously converts into a 3(10) helix over a stretch of 10 residues. The 3(10) helical conformation orients the gating arginines on S4 toward a water-filled crevice within the VSD and allows salt-bridge interactions with negatively charged residues along S2 and S3. Free energy calculations of the fractional transmembrane potential, acting upon key charged residues of the VSD, reveals that the applied field varies rapidly over a narrow region of 10-15 A corresponding to the outer leaflet of the bilayer. The focused field allows the transfer of a large gating charge without translocation of S4 across the membrane.
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:The voltage-gated proton channel Hv1 is a member of the voltage-gated ion channel superfamily, which stands out in design: It is a dimer of two voltage-sensing domains (VSDs), each containing a pore pathway, a voltage sensor (S4), and a gate (S1) and forming its own ion channel. Opening of the two channels in the dimer is cooperative. Part of the cooperativity is due to association between coiled-coil domains that extend intracellularly from the S4s. Interactions between the transmembrane portions of the subunits may also contribute, but the nature of transmembrane packing is unclear. Using functional analysis of a mutagenesis scan, biochemistry, and modeling, we find that the subunits form a dimer interface along the entire length of S1, and also have intersubunit contacts between S1 and S4. These interactions exert a strong effect on gating, in particular on the stability of the open state. Our results suggest that gating in Hv1 is tuned by extensive VSD-VSD interactions between the gates and voltage sensors of the dimeric channel.
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 ?-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 KV10.1 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 KV10.1. 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:Alternative splicing of the skeletal muscle CaV1.1 voltage-gated calcium channel gives rise to two channel variants with very different gating properties. The currents of both channels activate slowly; however, insertion of exon 29 in the adult splice variant CaV1.1a causes an ?30-mV right shift in the voltage dependence of activation. Existing evidence suggests that the S3-S4 linker in repeat IV (containing exon 29) regulates voltage sensitivity in this voltage-sensing domain (VSD) by modulating interactions between the adjacent transmembrane segments IVS3 and IVS4. However, activation kinetics are thought to be determined by corresponding structures in repeat I. Here, we use patch-clamp analysis of dysgenic (CaV1.1 null) myotubes reconstituted with CaV1.1 mutants and chimeras to identify the specific roles of these regions in regulating channel gating properties. Using site-directed mutagenesis, we demonstrate that the structure and/or hydrophobicity of the IVS3-S4 linker is critical for regulating voltage sensitivity in the IV VSD, but by itself cannot modulate voltage sensitivity in the I VSD. Swapping sequence domains between the I and the IV VSDs reveals that IVS4 plus the IVS3-S4 linker is sufficient to confer CaV1.1a-like voltage dependence to the I VSD and that the IS3-S4 linker plus IS4 is sufficient to transfer CaV1.1e-like voltage dependence to the IV VSD. Any mismatch of transmembrane helices S3 and S4 from the I and IV VSDs causes a right shift of voltage sensitivity, indicating that regulation of voltage sensitivity by the IVS3-S4 linker requires specific interaction of IVS4 with its corresponding IVS3 segment. In contrast, slow current kinetics are perturbed by any heterologous sequences inserted into the I VSD and cannot be transferred by moving VSD I sequences to VSD IV. Thus, CaV1.1 calcium channels are organized in a modular manner, and control of voltage sensitivity and activation kinetics is accomplished by specific molecular mechanisms within the IV and I VSDs, respectively.
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.