Cholesterol regulates prokaryotic Kir channel by direct binding to channel protein.

Department of Medicine, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (Impact Factor: 4.66). 10/2011; 1808(10):2527-33. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2011.07.006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cholesterol is a major regulator of a variety of ion channels but the mechanisms underlying cholesterol sensitivity of ion channels are still poorly understood. The key question is whether cholesterol regulates ion channels by direct binding to the channel protein or by altering the physical environment of lipid bilayer. In this study, we provide the first direct evidence that cholesterol binds to prokaryotic Kir channels, KirBac1.1, and that cholesterol binding is essential for its regulatory effect. Specifically, we show that cholesterol is eluted together with the KirBac1.1 protein when separated on an affinity column and that the amount of bound cholesterol is proportional to the amount of the protein. We also show that cholesterol binding to KirBac1.1 is saturable with a K(D) of 390μM. Moreover, there is clear competition between radioactive and non-radioactive cholesterol for the binding site. There is no competition, however, between cholesterol and 5-Androsten 3β-17 β-diol, a sterol that we showed previously to have no effect on KirBac1.1 function. Finally, we show that cholesterol-KirBac1.1 binding is significantly inhibited by trifluoperazine, known to inhibit cholesterol binding to other proteins, and that inhibition of cholesterol-KirBac1.1 binding results in full recovery of the channel activity. Collectively, results from this study indicate that cholesterol-induced suppression of KirBac1.1 activity is mediated by direct interaction between cholesterol and the channel protein.

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    ABSTRACT: Cholesterol is the major sterol component of all mammalian plasma membranes. Recent studies have shown that cholesterol inhibits both bacterial (KirBac1.1 and KirBac3.1) and eukaryotic (Kir2.1) inward rectifier K(+) (Kir) channels. Lipid-sterol interactions are not enantioselective, and the enantiomer of cholesterol (ent-cholesterol) does not inhibit Kir channel activity, suggesting that inhibition results from direct enantiospecific binding to the channel, and not indirect effects of changes to the bilayer. Furthermore, conservation of the effect of cholesterol among prokaryotic and eukaryotic Kir channels suggests an evolutionary conserved cholesterol-binding pocket, which we aimed to identify. Computational experiments were performed by docking cholesterol to the atomic structures of Kir2.2 (PDB: 3SPI) and KirBac1.1 (PDB: 2WLL) using Autodock 4.2. Poses were assessed to ensure biologically relevant orientation and then clustered according to location and orientation. The stability of cholesterol in each of these poses was then confirmed by molecular dynamics simulations. Finally, mutation of key residues (S95H and I171L) in this putative binding pocket found within the transmembrane domain of Kir2.1 channels were shown to lead to a loss of inhibition by cholesterol. Together, these data provide support for this location as a biologically relevant pocket. Copyright © 2014 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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