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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Electrostatic mutations in iberiotoxin as a unique tool for probing the electrostatic structure of the maxi-K channel outer vestibule.

Iberiotoxin (IbTX or alpha-KTx 1.3), a selective, high-affinity blocker of the large-conductance, calcium-activated (maxi-K) channel, exhibits a unique, asymmetric distribution of charge. To test how these charges control kinetics of IbTX binding, we generated five mutants at two positions, K27 and R34, that are highly conserved among other isotoxins. The dissociation and association rate constants, koff and kon, were determined from toxin-blocked and -unblocked durations of single maxi-K channels incorporated into planar lipid bilayers. Equilibrium dissociation constant (Kd) values were calculated from koff/kon. The IbTX mutants K27N, K27Q, and R34N caused large increases in Kd values compared to wild-type, suggesting that the IbTX interaction surface encompasses these residues. A well-established pore-blocking mechanism for IbTX predicts a voltage dependence of toxin-blocked times following occupancy of a potassium binding site in the channel pore. Time constants for block by K27R were approximately 5-fold slower at -20 mV versus +40 mV, while neutralization of K27 relieved the voltage dependence of block. This suggests that K27 in IbTX interacts with a potassium binding site in the pore. Neutralized mutants of K27 and R34, with zero net charge, displayed toxin association rate constants approximately 10-fold slower than wild-type. Association rates for R34N diminished approximately 19-fold when external potassium was increased from 30 to 300 mM. These findings suggest that simple net charge and diffusional processes do not control ingress of IbTX into the channel vestibule.[1]


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