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 July 27, 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 July 27, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The New York Times has officially endorsed the legalization of marijuana, but why now, and to what end? 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