Inter-subunit interactions across the upper voltage sensing-pore domain interface contribute to the concerted pore opening transition of Kv channels

Tzilhav Shem-Ad, Orr Irit, Ofer Yifrach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

The tight electro-mechanical coupling between the voltage-sensing and pore domains of Kv channels lies at the heart of their fundamental roles in electrical signaling. Structural data have identified two voltage sensor pore inter-domain interaction surfaces, thus providing a framework to explain the molecular basis for the tight coupling of these domains. While the contribution of the intra-subunit lower domain interface to the electro-mechanical coupling that underlies channel opening is relatively well understood, the contribution of the inter-subunit upper interface to channel gating is not yet clear. Relying on energy perturbation and thermodynamic coupling analyses of tandem-dimeric Shaker Kv channels, we show that mutation of upper interface residues from both sides of the voltage sensor-pore domain interface stabilizes the closed channel state. These mutations, however, do not affect slow inactivation gating. We, moreover, find that upper interface residues form a network of state-dependent interactions that stabilize the open channel state. Finally, we note that the observed residue interaction network does not change during slow inactivation gating. The upper voltage sensing-pore interaction surface thus only undergoes conformational rearrangements during channel activation gating. We suggest that inter-subunit interactions across the upper domain interface mediate allosteric communication between channel subunits that contributes to the concerted nature of the late pore opening transition of Kv channels.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere82253
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 10 Dec 2013

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