Transmembrane allosteric coupling of the gates in a potassium channel

Benjamin J. Wylie, Manasi P. Bhate, Ann E. McDermott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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It has been hypothesized that transmembrane allostery is the basis for inactivation of the potassium channel KcsA: opening the intracellular gate is spontaneously followed by ion expulsion at the extracellular selectivity filter. This suggests a corollary: following ion expulsion at neutral pH, a spontaneous global conformation change of the transmembrane helices, similar to the motion involved in opening, is expected. Consequently, both the low potassium state and the low pH state of the system could provide useful models for the inactivated state. Unique NMR studies of full-length KcsA in hydrated bilayers provide strong evidence for such a mutual coupling across the bilayer: namely, upon removing ambient potassium ions, changes are seen in the NMR shifts of carboxylates E118 and E120 in the pH gate in the hinges of the inner transmembrane helix (98-103), and in the selectivity filter, all of which resemble changes seen upon acid-induced opening and inhibition and suggest that ion release can trigger channel helix opening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-190
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • C-type inactivation
  • Chemical shift assignments
  • Membrane protein
  • Protein dynamics
  • Solid-state NMR


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