PubMed 21471215

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: BK , Slo1

Title: Metal-driven operation of the human large-conductance voltage- and Ca2+-dependent potassium channel (BK) gating ring apparatus.

Authors: Anoosh D Javaherian, Taleh Yusifov, Antonios Pantazis, Sarah Franklin, Chris S Gandhi, Riccardo Olcese

Journal, date & volume: J. Biol. Chem., 2011 Jun 10 , 286, 20701-9

PubMed link:

Large-conductance voltage- and Ca(2+)-dependent K(+) (BK, also known as MaxiK) channels are homo-tetrameric proteins with a broad expression pattern that potently regulate cellular excitability and Ca(2+) homeostasis. Their activation results from the complex synergy between the transmembrane voltage sensors and a large (>300 kDa) C-terminal, cytoplasmic complex (the "gating ring"), which confers sensitivity to intracellular Ca(2+) and other ligands. However, the molecular and biophysical operation of the gating ring remains unclear. We have used spectroscopic and particle-scale optical approaches to probe the metal-sensing properties of the human BK gating ring under physiologically relevant conditions. This functional molecular sensor undergoes Ca(2+)- and Mg(2+)-dependent conformational changes at physiologically relevant concentrations, detected by time-resolved and steady-state fluorescence spectroscopy. The lack of detectable Ba(2+)-evoked structural changes defined the metal selectivity of the gating ring. Neutralization of a high-affinity Ca(2+)-binding site (the "calcium bowl") reduced the Ca(2+) and abolished the Mg(2+) dependence of structural rearrangements. In congruence with electrophysiological investigations, these findings provide biochemical evidence that the gating ring possesses an additional high-affinity Ca(2+)-binding site and that Mg(2+) can bind to the calcium bowl with less affinity than Ca(2+). Dynamic light scattering analysis revealed a reversible Ca(2+)-dependent decrease of the hydrodynamic radius of the gating ring, consistent with a more compact overall shape. These structural changes, resolved under physiologically relevant conditions, likely represent the molecular transitions that initiate the ligand-induced activation of the human BK channel.