PubMed 14674774

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Kv2.1

Title: Free-energy landscapes of ion-channel gating are malleable: changes in the number of bound ligands are accompanied by changes in the location of the transition state in acetylcholine-receptor channels.

Authors: Claudio Grosman

Journal, date & volume: Biochemistry, 2003 Dec 23 , 42, 14977-87

PubMed link:

Acetylcholine-receptor channels (AChRs) are allosteric membrane proteins that mediate synaptic transmission by alternatively opening and closing ("gating") a cation-selective transmembrane pore. Although ligand binding is not required for the channel to open, the binding of agonists (for example, acetylcholine) increases the closed right harpoon over left harpoon open equilibrium constant because the ion-impermeable --> ion-permeable transition of the ion pathway is accompanied by a low-affinity --> high-affinity change at the agonist-binding sites. The fact that the gating conformational change of muscle AChRs can be kinetically modeled as a two-state reaction has paved the way to the experimental characterization of the corresponding transition state, which represents a snapshot of the continuous sequence of molecular events separating the closed and open states. Previous studies of fully (di) liganded AChRs, combining single-channel kinetic measurements, site-directed mutagenesis, and data analysis in the framework of the linear free-energy relationships of physical organic chemistry, have suggested a transition-state structure that is consistent with channel opening being an asynchronous conformational change that starts at the extracellular agonist-binding sites and propagates toward the intracellular end of the pore. In this paper, I characterize the gating transition state of unliganded AChRs, and report a remarkable difference: unlike that of diliganded gating, the unliganded transition state is not a hybrid of the closed- and open-state structures but, rather, is almost indistinguishable from the open state itself. This displacement of the transition state along the reaction coordinate obscures the mechanism underlying the unliganded closed right harpoon over left harpoon open reaction but brings to light the malleable nature of free-energy landscapes of ion-channel gating.