Conformational changes upon gating of KirBac1.1 into an open-activated state revealed by solid-state NMR and functional assays.
ABSTRACT: 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: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.
Project description: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:Phosphatidylinositol bisphosphate (PIP(2)) is an activator of mammalian inwardly rectifying potassium (Kir) channels. Multiscale simulations, via a sequential combination of coarse-grained and atomistic molecular dynamics, enabled exploration of the interactions of PIP(2) molecules within the inner leaflet of a lipid bilayer membrane with possible binding sites on Kir channels. Three Kir channel structures were investigated: X-ray structures of KirBac1.1 and of a Kir3.1-KirBac1.3 chimera and a homology model of Kir6.2. Coarse-grained simulations of the Kir channels in PIP(2)-containing lipid bilayers identified the PIP(2)-binding site on each channel. These models of the PIP(2)-channel complexes were refined by conversion to an atomistic representation followed by molecular dynamics simulation in a lipid bilayer. All three channels were revealed to contain a conserved binding site at the N-terminal end of the slide (M0) helix, at the interface between adjacent subunits of the channel. This binding site agrees with mutagenesis data and is in the proximity of the site occupied by a detergent molecule in the Kir chimera channel crystal. Polar contacts in the coarse-grained simulations corresponded to long-lived electrostatic and H-bonding interactions between the channel and PIP(2) in the atomistic simulations, enabling identification of key side chains.
Project description:Strong interactions between lipids and proteins occur primarily through association of charged headgroups and amino acid side chains, rendering the protonation status of both partners important. Here we use native mass spectrometry to explore lipid binding as a function of charge of the outer membrane porin F (OmpF). We find that binding of anionic phosphatidylglycerol (POPG) or zwitterionic phosphatidylcholine (POPC) to OmpF is sensitive to electrospray polarity while the effects of charge are less pronounced for other proteins in outer or mitochondrial membranes: the ferripyoverdine receptor (FpvA) or the voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC). Only marginal charge-induced differences were observed for inner membrane proteins: the ammonia channel (AmtB) or the mechanosensitive channel. To understand these different sensitivities, we performed an extensive bioinformatics analysis of membrane protein structures and found that OmpF, and to a lesser extent FpvA and VDAC, have atypically high local densities of basic and acidic residues in their lipid headgroup-binding regions. Coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations, in mixed lipid bilayers, further implicate changes in charge by demonstrating preferential binding of anionic POPG over zwitterionic POPC to protonated OmpF, an effect not observed to the same extent for AmtB. Moreover, electrophysiology and mass-spectrometry-based ligand-binding experiments, at low pH, show that POPG can maintain OmpF channels in open conformations for extended time periods. Since the outer membrane is composed almost entirely of anionic lipopolysaccharide, with similar headgroup properties to POPG, such anionic lipid binding could prevent closure of OmpF channels, thereby increasing access of antibiotics that use porin-mediated pathways.
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:Crystallography has provided invaluable insights regarding ion-channel selectivity and gating, but to advance understanding to a new level, dynamic views of channel structures within membranes are essential. We labeled tetrameric KirBac1.1 potassium channels with single donor and acceptor fluorophores at different sites and then examined structural dynamics within lipid membranes by single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). We found that the extracellular region is structurally rigid in both closed and open states, whereas the N-terminal slide helix undergoes marked conformational fluctuations. The cytoplasmic C-terminal domain fluctuates between two major structural states, both of which become less dynamic and move away from the pore axis and away from the membrane in closed channels. Our results reveal mobile and rigid conformations of functionally relevant KirBac1.1 channel motifs, implying similar dynamics for similar motifs in eukaryotic Kir channels and in cation channels in general.
Project description:Inward rectifier potassium (Kir) channels are integral membrane proteins charged with a key role in establishing the resting membrane potential of excitable cells through selective control of the permeation of K(+) ions across cell membranes. In conjunction with secondary anionic phospholipids, members of this family are directly regulated by phosphoinositides (PIPs) in the absence of other proteins or downstream signaling pathways. Different Kir isoforms display distinct specificities for the activating PIPs but all eukaryotic Kir channels are activated by PI(4,5)P2. On the other hand, the bacterial KirBac1.1 channel is inhibited by PIPs. Recent crystal structures of eukaryotic Kir channels in apo and lipid bound forms reveal one specific binding site per subunit, formed at the interface of N- and C-terminal domains, just beyond the transmembrane segments and clearly involving some of the key residues previously identified as controlling PI(4,5)P2 sensitivity. Computational, biochemical, and biophysical approaches have attempted to address the energetic determinants of PIP binding and selectivity among Kir channel isoforms, as well as the conformational changes that trigger channel gating. Here we review our current understanding of the molecular determinants of PIP regulation of Kir channel activity, including in context with other lipid modulators, and provide further discussion on the key questions that remain to be answered.
Project description:Increasing evidence suggests that the interaction of human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP) with lipids may facilitate hIAPP aggregation and cause the death of pancreatic islet ?-cells. However, the detailed hIAPP-membrane interactions and the influences of lipid compositions are unclear. In this study, as a first step to understand the mechanism of membrane-mediated hIAPP aggregation, we investigate the binding behaviors of hIAPP monomer at zwitterionic palmitoyloleoyl-phosphatidylcholine (POPC) bilayer by performing atomistic molecular dynamics simulations. The results are compared with those of hIAPP at anionic palmitoyloleoyl-phosphatidylglycerol (POPG) bilayers. We find that the adsorption of hIAPP to POPC bilayer is mainly initiated from the C-terminal region and the peptide adopts a helical structure with multiple binding orientations, while the adsorption to POPG bilayer is mostly initiated from the N-terminal region and hIAPP displays one preferential binding orientation, with its hydrophobic residues exposed to water. hIAPP monomer inserts into POPC lipid bilayers more readily than into POPG bilayers. Peptide-lipid interaction analyses show that the different binding features of hIAPP at POPC and POPG bilayers are attributed to different magnitudes of electrostatic and hydrogen-bonding interactions with lipids. This study provides mechanistic insights into the different interaction behaviors of hIAPP with zwitterionic and anionic lipid bilayers.
Project description:Protegrins (PG) are important in defending host tissues, preventing infection via an attack on the membrane surface of invading microorganisms. Protegrins have powerful antibiotic abilities, but the molecular-level mechanisms underlying the interactions of their beta-sheet motifs with the membrane are not known. Protegrin-1 (PG-1) is composed of 18 amino acids with a high content of basic residues and two disulfide bonds. Here we focused on the stability of PG-1 at the amphipathic interface in lipid bilayers and on the details of the peptide-membrane interactions. We simulated all-atom models of the PG-1 monomer with explicit water and lipid bilayers composed of both homogeneous POPC (palmitoyl-oleyl-phosphatidylcholine) lipids and a mixture of POPC/POPG (palmitoyl-oleyl-phosphatidylglycerol) (4:1) lipids. We observed that local thinning of the lipid bilayers mediated by the peptide is enhanced in the lipid bilayer containing POPG, consistent with experimental results of selective membrane targeting. The beta-hairpin motif of PG-1 is conserved in both lipid settings, whereas it is highly bent in aqueous solution. The conformational dynamics of PG-1, especially the highly charged beta-hairpin turn region, are found to be mostly responsible for disturbing the membrane. Even though the eventual membrane disruption requires PG-1 oligomers, our simulations clearly show the first step of the monomeric effects. The thinning effects in the bilayer should relate to pore/channel formation in the lipid bilayer and thus be responsible for further defects in the membrane caused by oligomer.
Project description:We report altogether 3-?s molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of the antimicrobial peptide CM15 to systematically investigate its interaction with two model lipid bilayers, pure POPC and mixed POPG:POPC (1:2). Starting with either an ?-helical or a random-coil conformation, CM15 is found to insert into both bilayers. Peptide-lipid interaction is stronger with the anionic POPG:POPC than the zwitterionic POPC, which is largely attributed to the electrostatic attraction between CM15 and the negatively charged POPG. Simulations initiated with CM15 as a random coil allowed us to study peptide folding at the lipid-water interface. Interestingly, CM15 folding appears to be faster in POPC than POPG:POPC, which may be explained by a lower activation energy barrier of structural rearrangement in the former system. Our data also suggest that compared with the random-coil conformation, CM15 in a pre-folded ?-helix has significantly reduced interactions with the lipids, indicating that peptide initial structures may bias the simulation results considerably on the 100-ns timescale. The implications of this result should be considered when preparing and interpreting future AMP simulations.