Channelpedia

PubMed 22586397


Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Kv11.1 , Kv8.2 , Slo1



Title: Voltage-dependent gating of HERG potassium channels.

Authors: Yen May Cheng, Tom W Claydon

Journal, date & volume: Front Pharmacol, 2012 , 3, 83

PubMed link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22586397


Abstract
The mechanisms by which voltage-gated channels sense changes in membrane voltage and energetically couple this with opening of the ion conducting pore has been the source of significant interest. In voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channels, much of our knowledge in this area comes from Shaker-type channels, for which voltage-dependent gating is quite rapid. In these channels, activation and deactivation are associated with rapid reconfiguration of the voltage-sensing domain unit that is electromechanically coupled, via the S4-S5 linker helix, to the rate-limiting opening of an intracellular pore gate. However, fast voltage-dependent gating kinetics are not typical of all Kv channels, such as Kv11.1 (human ether-à-go-go related gene, hERG), which activates and deactivates very slowly. Compared to Shaker channels, our understanding of the mechanisms underlying slow hERG gating is much poorer. Here, we present a comparative review of the structure-function relationships underlying activation and deactivation gating in Shaker and hERG channels, with a focus on the roles of the voltage-sensing domain and the S4-S5 linker that couples voltage sensor movements to the pore. Measurements of gating current kinetics and fluorimetric analysis of voltage sensor movement are consistent with models suggesting that the hERG activation pathway contains a voltage independent step, which limits voltage sensor transitions. Constraints upon hERG voltage sensor movement may result from loose packing of the S4 helices and additional intra-voltage sensor counter-charge interactions. More recent data suggest that key amino acid differences in the hERG voltage-sensing unit and S4-S5 linker, relative to fast activating Shaker-type Kv channels, may also contribute to the increased stability of the resting state of the voltage sensor.