An emerging consensus on voltage-dependent gating from computational modeling and molecular dynamics simulations.
ABSTRACT Developing an understanding of the mechanism of voltage-gated ion channels in molecular terms requires knowledge of the structure of the active and resting conformations. Although the active-state conformation is known from x-ray structures, an atomic resolution structure of a voltage-dependent ion channel in the resting state is not currently available. This has motivated various efforts at using computational modeling methods and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to provide the missing information. A comparison of recent computational results reveals an emerging consensus on voltage-dependent gating from computational modeling and MD simulations. This progress is highlighted in the broad context of preexisting work about voltage-gated channels.
SourceAvailable from: Lucie Delemotte[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Voltage sensor domains (VSDs) are membrane-bound protein modules that confer voltage sensitivity to membrane proteins. VSDs sense changes in the transmembrane voltage and convert the electrical signal into a conformational change called activation. Activation involves a reorganization of the membrane protein charges that is detected experimentally as transient currents. These so-called gating currents have been investigated extensively within the theoretical framework of so-called discrete-state Markov models (DMMs), whereby activation is conceptualized as a series of transitions across a discrete set of states. Historically, the interpretation of DMM transition rates in terms of transition state theory has been instrumental in shaping our view of the activation process, whose free-energy profile is currently envisioned as composed of a few local minima separated by steep barriers. Here we use atomistic level modeling and well-tempered metadynamics to calculate the configurational free energy along a single transition from first principles. We show that this transition is intrinsically multidimensional and described by a rough free-energy landscape. Remarkably, a coarse-grained description of the system, based on the use of the gating charge as reaction coordinate, reveals a smooth profile with a single barrier, consistent with phenomenological models. Our results bridge the gap between microscopic and macroscopic descriptions of activation dynamics and show that choosing the gating charge as reaction coordinate masks the topological complexity of the network of microstates participating in the transition. Importantly, full characterization of the latter is a prerequisite to rationalize modulation of this process by lipids, toxins, drugs, and genetic mutations.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2015; 112(1):124-129. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1416959112 · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: This paper is the second of a series of three reviews published in this issue resulting from the University of California Davis Cardiovascular Symposium 2014: Systems approach to understanding cardiac excitation-contraction coupling and arrhythmias: Na(+) channel and Na(+) transport. The goal of the symposium was to bring together experts in the field to discuss points of consensus and controversy on the topic of sodium in the heart. The present review focuses on Na(+) channel function and regulation, Na(+) channel structure and function, and Na(+) channel trafficking, sequestration and complexing. © 2014 The Authors. The Journal of Physiology © 2014 The Physiological Society.The Journal of Physiology 03/2015; 593(6). DOI:10.1113/jphysiol.2014.281428 · 4.54 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Much has been learned about the voltage sensors of ion channels since the x-ray structure of the mammalian voltage-gated potassium channel Kv1.2 was published in 2005. High resolution structural data of a Kv channel enabled the structural interpretation of numerous electrophysiological findings collected in various ion channels, most notably Shaker, and permitted the development of meticulous computational simulations of the activation mechanism. The fundamental premise for the structural interpretation of functional measurements from Shaker is that this channel and Kv1.2 have the same characteristics, such that correlation of data from both channels would be a trivial task. We tested these assumptions by measuring Kv1.2 voltage-dependent gating and charge per channel. We found that the Kv1.2 gating charge is near 10 elementary charges (eo), ∼25% less than the well-established 13-14 eo in Shaker. Next, we neutralized positive residues in the Kv1.2 S4 transmembrane segment to investigate the cause of the reduction of the gating charge and found that, whereas replacing R1 with glutamine decreased voltage sensitivity to ∼50% of the wild-type channel value, mutation of the subsequent arginines had a much smaller effect. These data are in marked contrast to the effects of charge neutralization in Shaker, where removal of the first four basic residues reduces the gating charge by roughly the same amount. In light of these differences, we propose that the voltage-sensing domains (VSDs) of Kv1.2 and Shaker might undergo the same physical movement, but the septum that separates the aqueous crevices in the VSD of Kv1.2 might be thicker than Shaker's, accounting for the smaller Kv1.2 gating charge. © 2015 Ishida et al.The Journal of General Physiology 03/2015; DOI:10.1085/jgp.201411300 · 4.57 Impact Factor