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.

Related Articles


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 December 21, 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 December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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