Gating of Shaker-type channels requires the flexibility of S6 caused by prolines
Labro, AJ * × Raes, Adam * Bellens, I Ottschytsch, N Snyders, DJ #
Amer soc biochemistry molecular biology inc
Journal of Biological Chemistry vol:278 issue:50 pages:50724-50731
The recent crystallization of a voltage-gated K+ channel has given insight into the structure of these channels but has not resolved the issues of the location and the operation of the gate. The conserved PXP motif in the S6 segment of Shaker channels has been proposed to contribute to the intracellular gating structure. To investigate the role of this motif in the destabilization of the alpha-helix, both prolines were replaced to promote an alpha-helix (alanine) or to allow a flexible configuration (glycine). These substitutions were nonfunctional or resulted in drastically altered channel gating, highlighting an important role of these prolines. Combining these mutations with a proline substitution scan demonstrated that proline residues in the midsection of S6 are required for functionality, but not necessarily at the positions conserved throughout evolution. These results indicate that the destabilization or bending of the S6 alpha-helix caused by the PXP motif apparently creates a flexible "hinge" that allows movement of the lower S6 segment during channel gating and opening.