Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New clues to the structural dynamics of BK channels

Date:
July 14, 2011
Source:
Rockefeller University Press
Summary:
BK channels (large-conductance, Ca2+-dependent K+ channels) are essential for the regulation of important biological processes such as smooth muscle tone and neuronal excitability. New research shows that BK channel activation involves structural rearrangements formerly not understood.

BK channels (large-conductance, Ca2+-dependent K+ channels) are essential for the regulation of important biological processes such as smooth muscle tone and neuronal excitability. New research shows that BK channel activation involves structural rearrangements formerly not understood.

The study appears in the August 2011 issue of the Journal of General Physiology.

Previous research pointed to a possible unified theory of activation gating in K+ channels, with the "activation gate" formed by the bundle crossing of four S6 transmembrane helices from the four subunits. Recent studies, however, have suggested a different structure for BK channels, but the exact location of the activation gate remained a mystery.

A new study by Xixi Chen and Richard Aldrich (The University of Texas at Austin) provides important clues to this question. The research identifies a single residue M314, halfway down S6, that appears to change conformation during the opening of the BK channel, rotating its side chain from a position in the closed state not exposed to the hydrophilic pore to one that is so exposed in the open state. The results further show that M314 might not actually form the part of the activation gate that blocks ion passage, but that motions in the deep pore may be required for blocking ion passage elsewhere in the channel.

The findings point to new directions for research regarding the molecular mechanisms of BK channel activation, according to Commentary by Daniel Cox (Tufts University School of Medicine) and Toshinori Hoshi (University of Pennsylvania). Importantly, they say, the study demonstrates that BK channel activation is not an open-and-shut case as previously suspected.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rockefeller University Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. D. H. Cox, T. Hoshi. Where's the gate? Gating in the deep pore of the BKCa channel. The Journal of General Physiology, 2011; DOI: 10.1085/jgp.201110681
  2. X. Chen, R. W. Aldrich. Charge substitution for a deep-pore residue reveals structural dynamics during BK channel gating. The Journal of General Physiology, 2011; DOI: 10.1085/jgp.201110632

Cite This Page:

Rockefeller University Press. "New clues to the structural dynamics of BK channels." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110714120720.htm>.
Rockefeller University Press. (2011, July 14). New clues to the structural dynamics of BK channels. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110714120720.htm
Rockefeller University Press. "New clues to the structural dynamics of BK channels." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110714120720.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Kangaroo Rescued from Swimming Pool

Raw: Kangaroo Rescued from Swimming Pool

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A kangaroo was saved from drowning in a backyard suburban swimming pool in Australia's Victoria state on Thursday. Australian broadcaster Channel 7 showed footage of the kangaroo struggling to get out of the pool. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) A new study says marijuana use could lead to serious heart-related complications. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins