Desensitization in pentameric ligand-gated ion channels plays an important role in regulating neuronal excitability. Here, we show that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a key ω−3 polyunsaturated fatty acid in synaptic membranes, enhances the agonist-induced transition to the desensitized state in the prokaryotic channel GLIC. We determined a 3.25 Å structure of the GLIC-DHA complex in a potentially desensitized conformation. The DHA molecule is bound at the channel-periphery near M4 and exerts a long-range allosteric effect on the pore across domain-interfaces. In this previously unobserved conformation, the extracellular-half of the pore-lining M2 is splayed open, reminiscent of the open conformation, while the intracellular-half is constricted, leading to a loss of both water and permeant ions. These findings, in combination with spin-labeling/EPR spectroscopic measurements in reconstituted-membranes, provide novel mechanistic details of desensitization in pentameric channels.
Crystal Structure of membrane protein.Publicly available at the RCSB Protein Data Bank (accession no: 5J0Z).
The GLIC pentameric Ligand-Gated Ion Channel at 2.4 A resolutionPublicly available at the RCSB Protein Data Bank (accession no: 4HFI).
- Sudha Chakrapani
- Sudha Chakrapani
- Sudha Chakrapani
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Baron Chanda, University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States
© 2017, Basak et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) are trimeric proton-gated sodium channels. Recent work has shown that these channels play a role in necroptosis following prolonged acidic exposure like occurs in stroke. The C-terminus of ASIC1a is thought to mediate necroptotic cell death through interaction with receptor interacting serine threonine kinase 1 (RIPK1). This interaction is hypothesized to be inhibited at rest via an interaction between the C- and N-termini which blocks the RIPK1 binding site. Here, we use two transition metal ion FRET methods to investigate the conformational dynamics of the termini at neutral and acidic pH. We do not find evidence that the termini are close enough to be bound while the channel is at rest and find that the termini may modestly move closer together during acidification. At rest, the N-terminus adopts a conformation parallel to the membrane about 10 Å away. The distal end of the C-terminus may also spend time close to the membrane at rest. After acidification, the proximal portion of the N-terminus moves marginally closer to the membrane whereas the distal portion of the C-terminus swings away from the membrane. Together these data suggest that a new hypothesis for RIPK1 binding during stroke is needed.
The Neuronal Calcium Sensor 1, an EF-hand Ca2+ binding protein, and Ric-8A coregulate synapse number and probability of neurotransmitter release. Recently, the structures of Ric-8A bound to Ga have revealed how Ric-8A phosphorylation promotes Ga recognition and activity as a chaperone and guanine nucleotide exchange factor. However, the molecular mechanism by which NCS-1 regulates Ric-8A activity and its interaction with Ga subunits is not well understood. Given the interest in the NCS-1/Ric-8A complex as a therapeutic target in nervous system disorders, it is necessary to shed light on this molecular mechanism of action at atomic level. We have reconstituted NCS-1/Ric-8A complexes to conduct a multimodal approach and determine the sequence of Ca2+ signals and phosphorylation events that promote the interaction of Ric-8A with Ga. Our data show that the binding of NCS-1 and Ga to Ric-8A are mutually exclusive. Importantly, NCS-1 induces a structural rearrangement in Ric-8A that traps the protein in a conformational state that is inaccessible to Casein Kinase II-mediated phosphorylation, demonstrating one aspect of its negative regulation of Ric-8A-mediated G-protein signaling. Functional experiments indicate a loss of Ric-8A GEF activity towards Ga when complexed with NCS-1, and restoration of nucleotide exchange activity upon increasing Ca2+ concentration. Finally, the high-resolution crystallographic data reported here define the NCS-1/Ric-8A interface and will allow the development of therapeutic synapse function regulators with improved activity and selectivity.