Xiang Qian

Publication Details

  • K+ channel selectivity depends on kinetic as well as thermodynamic factors PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Grabe, M., Bichet, D., Qian, X., Jan, Y. N., Jan, L. Y. 2006; 103 (39): 14361-14366


    Potassium channels are necessary for a number of essential biological tasks such as the generation of action potentials and setting the resting membrane potential in cells, both of which require that these channels selectively permit the passage of potassium ions while suppressing the flow of other ions. Generally, this selectivity is attributed to a narrow stretch of the channel known as the selectivity filter. Over this stretch ions are dehydrated, and the backbone oxygen atoms of the protein mimic the ion's loss of coordination by water. However, channels are long pores with spatially distinct ion-binding sites that all must be traversed during ion permeation. We have shown that selectivity of mutant Kir3.2 (GIRK2) channels can be substantially amplified by introducing acidic residues into the cavity, a binding site below the selectivity filter. Here, we carry out electrostatic calculations on homology models to quantify the degree of stabilization that these mutations have on ions in the cavity. We then construct a multiion model of ion permeation to calculate the channel's permeability to potassium relative to sodium. This kinetic model uses rates derived from the electrostatic calculations and demonstrates that nonselective electrostatic stabilization of cations in the cavity can amplify channel selectivity independently of the selectivity filter. This nonintuitive result highlights the dependence of channel properties on the entire channel architecture and suggests that selectivity may not be fully understood by focusing solely on thermodynamic considerations of ion dehydration and the energetics of the selectivity filter.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.0606662103

    View details for Web of Science ID 000240968100021

    View details for PubMedID 16983068

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