Fluoride ion channels of the Fluc family combat toxicity arising from accumulation of environmental F-. Although crystal structures are known, the densely packed pore region has precluded delineation of the ion pathway. Here we chart out the Fluc pore and characterize its chemical requirements for transport. A ladder of H-bond donating residues creates a 'polar track' demarking the ion-conduction pathway. Surprisingly, while track polarity is well conserved, polarity is nonetheless functionally dispensable at several positions. A threonine at one end of the pore engages in vital interactions through its β-branched methyl group. Two critical central phenylalanines that directly coordinate F- through a quadrupolar-ion interaction cannot be functionally substituted by aromatic, non-polar, or polar sidechains. The only functional replacement is methionine, which coordinates F- through its partially positive γ-methylene in mimicry of phenylalanine's quadrupolar interaction. These results demonstrate the unusual chemical requirements for selectively transporting the strongly H-bonding F- anion.
- Nicholas B Last
- Christopher Miller
- Senmiao Sun
- Minh C Pham
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, Last 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.
Prestin responds to transmembrane voltage fluctuations by changing its cross-sectional area, a process underlying the electromotility of outer hair cells and cochlear amplification. Prestin belongs to the SLC26 family of anion transporters yet is the only member capable of displaying electromotility. Prestin’s voltage-dependent conformational changes are driven by the putative displacement of residue R399 and a set of sparse charged residues within the transmembrane domain, following the binding of a Cl− anion at a conserved binding site formed by the amino termini of the TM3 and TM10 helices. However, a major conundrum arises as to how an anion that binds in proximity to a positive charge (R399), can promote the voltage sensitivity of prestin. Using hydrogen–deuterium exchange mass spectrometry, we find that prestin displays an unstable anion-binding site, where folding of the amino termini of TM3 and TM10 is coupled to Cl− binding. This event shortens the TM3–TM10 electrostatic gap, thereby connecting the two helices, resulting in reduced cross-sectional area. These folding events upon anion binding are absent in SLC26A9, a non-electromotile transporter closely related to prestin. Dynamics of prestin embedded in a lipid bilayer closely match that in detergent micelle, except for a destabilized lipid-facing helix TM6 that is critical to prestin’s mechanical expansion. We observe helix fraying at prestin’s anion-binding site but cooperative unfolding of multiple lipid-facing helices, features that may promote prestin’s fast electromechanical rearrangements. These results highlight a novel role of the folding equilibrium of the anion-binding site, and help define prestin’s unique voltage-sensing mechanism and electromotility.
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.