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

Conformational changes associated with ion permeation in L-type calcium channels.

The mechanism by which ions deliver their message to effector proteins involves a change in the protein conformation which is induced by the specific interaction of the ion with its binding site on the protein. In the case of an ion-channel protein, conformational changes induced by permeant ions and the consequences for channel function have received little attention. Here we report that binding of permeant cations to an intra-channel binding site of the dihydropyridine (DHP)-sensitive (L-type) Ca2+ channel leads to a conformational change which destabilizes the protonated state of a group on the external channel surface, and can shift its apparent pK value by more than 2 pH units. The lifetime of the protonated state correlates with the occupancy of an intra-channel binding site by the permeant cation. The demonstration of such conformational changes in a channel protein induced by the permeant ion has important implications for realistic models of the mechanism of ion permeation.[1]


  1. Conformational changes associated with ion permeation in L-type calcium channels. Pietrobon, D., Prod'hom, B., Hess, P. Nature (1988) [Pubmed]
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