Inverse coupling in leak and voltage-activated K+ channel gates underlies distinct roles in electrical signaling

Yuval Ben-Abu, Yufeng Zhou, Noam Zilberberg, Ofer Yifrach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations

Abstract

Voltage-activated (Kv) and leak (K2P) K+ channels have key, yet distinct, roles in electrical signaling in the nervous system. Here we examine how differences in the operation of the activation and slow inactivation pore gates of Kv and K2P channels underlie their unique roles in electrical signaling. We report that (i) leak K+ channels possess a lower activation gate, (ii) the activation gate is an important determinant controlling the conformational stability of the K+ channel pore, (iii) the lower activation and upper slow inactivation gates of leak channels cross-talk and (iv) unlike Kv channels, where the two gates are negatively coupled, these two gates are positively coupled in K2P channels. Our results demonstrate how basic thermodynamic properties of the K+ channel pore, particularly conformational stability and coupling between gates, underlie the specialized roles of Kv and K2P channel families in electrical signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-79
Number of pages9
JournalNature Structural and Molecular Biology
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009

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