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Ion channels exhibit two essential biophysical properties; that is, selective ion conduction, and the ability to gate-open in response to an appropriate stimulus. Two general categories of ion channel gating are defined by the initiating stimulus: ligand binding (neurotransmitter- or second-messenger-gated channels) or membrane voltage (voltage-gated(More)
Voltage-dependent K+ channels are members of the family of voltage-dependent cation (K+, Na+ and Ca2+) channels that open and allow ion conduction in response to changes in cell membrane voltage. This form of gating underlies the generation of nerve and muscle action potentials, among other processes. Here we present the structure of KvAP, a(More)
Living cells regulate the activity of their ion channels through a process known as gating. To open the pore, protein conformational changes must occur within a channel's membrane-spanning ion pathway. KcsA and MthK, closed and opened K(+) channels, respectively, reveal how such gating transitions occur. Pore-lining 'inner' helices contain a 'gating hinge'(More)
The steep dependence of channel opening on membrane voltage allows voltage-dependent K+ channels to turn on almost like a switch. Opening is driven by the movement of gating charges that originate from arginine residues on helical S4 segments of the protein. Each S4 segment forms half of a 'voltage-sensor paddle' on the channel's outer perimeter. Here we(More)
The intracellular C-terminal domain structure of a six-transmembrane K+ channel from Escherichia coli has been solved by X-ray crystallography at 2.4 A resolution. The structure is representative of a broad class of domains/proteins that regulate the conductance of K+ (here referred to as RCK domains) in prokaryotic K+ transporters and K+ channels. The RCK(More)
X-ray diffraction data were collected from frozen crystals (100 degrees K) of the KcsA K(+) channel equilibrated with solutions containing barium chloride. Difference electron density maps (F(barium) - F(native), 5.0 A resolution) show that Ba(2+) resides at a single location within the selectivity filter. The Ba(2+) blocking site corresponds to the(More)
Large-conductance Ca(2+)-gated K(+) (BK) channels are essential for many biological processes such as smooth muscle contraction and neurotransmitter release. This group of channels can be activated synergistically by both voltage and intracellular Ca(2+), with the large carboxy-terminal intracellular portion being responsible for Ca(2+) sensing. Here we(More)
Ion selectivity is one of the basic properties that define an ion channel. Most tetrameric cation channels, which include the K+, Ca2+, Na+ and cyclic nucleotide-gated channels, probably share a similar overall architecture in their ion-conduction pore, but the structural details that determine ion selection are different. Although K+ channel selectivity(More)
K+ channels are highly selective for K+ over Na+. Here we present several crystal structures of the MthK K+ channel pore at up to 1.45-A resolution. The MthK selectivity filter maintains a conductive conformation even in the absence of K+, allowing the channel to conduct Na+. The high-resolution structures, along with single-channel recordings, allow for an(More)
In MthK, a Ca2+-gated K+ channel from Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum, eight cytoplasmic RCK domains form an octameric gating ring that controls the intracellular gate of the ion conduction pore. The binding of Ca2+ ions to the RCK domains alters the conformation of the gating ring, thereby opening the gate. In the present study, we examined the Ca2+-(More)