PubMed 18559348

Title: Structural basis for toxin resistance of beta4-associated calcium-activated potassium (BK) channels.

Authors: Geliang Gan, Hong Yi, Maorong Chen, Liang Sun, Wenxin Li, Yingliang Wu, Jiuping Ding

Journal, date & volume: J. Biol. Chem., 2008 Aug 29 , 283, 24177-84

PubMed link:

The functional diversity of large conductance Ca(2+)- and voltage-dependent K(+) (BK) channels arises mainly from co-assembly of the pore-forming mSlo alpha subunits with four tissue-enriched auxiliary beta subunits. The structural basis of the interaction between alpha subunits with beta subunits is not well understood. Using computational and experimental methods, we demonstrated that four mSlo turrets decentralized distally from the channel pore to provide a wide open conformation and that the mSlo and hbeta4 subunits together formed a "helmet" containing three basic residues (Lys-120, Arg-121, and Lys-125), which impeded the entry of charybdotoxin (ChTX) by both the electrostatic interaction and limited space. In addition, the tyrosine insert mutant (in100Y) showed 56% inhibition, with a K(d) = 17 nm, suggesting that the hbeta4 lacks an external ChTX-binding site (Tyr-100). We also found that mSlo had an internal binding site (Tyr-294) in the alpha subunits that could "permanently" block 15% of mSlo+hbeta4 currents in the presence of 100 nm ChTX. These findings provide a better understanding of the diverse interactions between alpha and beta subunits and will improve the design of channel inhibitors.