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      Three-dimensional architecture and gating mechanism of a K+ channel studied by EPR spectroscopy.

      Nature structural biology
      Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Bacterial Proteins, Crystallography, X-Ray, Cysteine, genetics, Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy, Ion Channel Gating, Membrane Proteins, chemistry, Molecular Sequence Data, Mutagenesis, Site-Directed, Peptide Fragments, Potassium Channels, Protein Conformation, Protein Structure, Secondary, Sequence Alignment, Shaker Superfamily of Potassium Channels, Streptomyces

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          Abstract

          The transmembrane organization of a potassium channel from Streptomyces lividans has been studied using site-directed spin labeling techniques and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. In the tetrameric channel complex, two alpha-helices were identified per monomer and assigned to the amino acid sequence. Probe mobility and accessibility data clearly establish that the first helix (TM1) is located in the perimeter of the channel, showing extensive protein-lipid contacts, while the second helix (TM2) is closer to the four-fold symmetric axis of the channel, lining the intracellular vestibule. A large conformational change in the C-terminal end of TM2 was measured when comparing conditions that favor either the open or closed states. The present data suggest that the diameter of the internal vestibule increases with channel opening.

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          Gated access to the pore of a voltage-dependent K+ channel.

          Voltage-activated K+ channels are integral membrane proteins that open or close a K(+)-selective pore in response to changes in transmembrane voltage. Although the S4 region of these channels has been implicated as the voltage sensor, little is known about how opening and closing of the pore is accomplished. We explored the gating process by introducing cysteines at various positions thought to lie in or near the pore of the Shaker K+ channel, and by testing their ability to be chemically modified. We found a series of positions in the S6 transmembrane region that react rapidly with water-soluble thiol reagents in the open state but not the closed state. An open-channel blocker can protect several of these cysteines, showing that they lie in the ion-conducting pore. At two of these sites, Cd2+ ions bind to the cysteines without affecting the energetics of gating; at a third site, Cd2+ binding holds the channel open. The results suggest that these channels open and close by the movement of an intracellular gate, distinct from the selectivity filter, that regulates access to the pore.
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            Protein stability curves.

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              Hydrophobicity scales and computational techniques for detecting amphipathic structures in proteins.

              Protein segments that form amphipathic alpha-helices in their native state have periodic variation in the hydrophobicity values of the residues along the segment, with a 3.6 residue per cycle period characteristic of the alpha-helix. The assignment of hydrophobicity values to amino acids (hydrophobicity scale) affects the display of periodicity. Thirty-eight published hydrophobicity scales are compared for their ability to identify the characteristic period of alpha-helices, and an optimum scale for this purpose is computed using a new eigenvector method. Two of the published scales are also characterized by eigenvectors. We compare the usual method for detecting periodicity based on the discrete Fourier transform with a method based on a least-squares fit of a harmonic sequence to a sequence of hydrophobicity values. The two become equivalent for very long sequences, but, for shorter sequences with lengths commonly found in alpha-helices, the least-squares procedure gives a more reliable estimate of the period. The analog to the usual Fourier transform power spectrum is the "least-squares power spectrum", the sum of squares accounted for in fitting a sinusoid of given frequency to a sequence of hydrophobicity values. The sum of the spectra of the alpha-helices in our data base peaks at 97.5 degrees, and approximately 50% of the helices can account for this peak. Thus, approximately 50% of the alpha-helices appear to be amphipathic, and, of those that are, the dominant frequency at 97.5 degrees rather than 100 degrees indicates that the helix is slightly more open than previously thought, with the number of residues per turn closer to 3.7 than 3.6. The extra openness is examined in crystallographic data, and is shown to be associated with the C terminus of the helix. The alpha amphipathic index, the key quantity in our analysis, measures the fraction of the total spectral area that is under the 97.5 degrees peak, and is a characteristic of hydrophobicity scales that is consistent for different sets of helices. Our optimized scale maximizes the amphipathic index and has a correlation of 0.85 or higher with nine previously published scales. The most surprising feature of the optimized scale is that arginine tends to behave as if it were hydrophobic; i.e. in the crystallographic data base it has a tendency to be on the hydrophobic face of teh amphipathic helix. Although the scale is optimal only for predicting alpha-amphipathicity, it also ranks high in identifying beta-amphipathicity and in distinguishing interior from exterior residues in a protein.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
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