Interaction of the BKCachannel gating ring with dendrotoxins
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Two classes of small homologous basic proteins, mamba snake dendrotoxins (DTX) and bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor (BPTI), block the large conductance Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channel (BKCa, KCa1.1) by production of discrete subconductance events when added to the intracellular side of the membrane. This toxin-channel interaction is unlikely to be pharmacologically relevant to the action of mamba venom, but as a fortuitous ligand-protein interaction, it has certain biophysical implications for the mechanism of BKCa channel gating. In this work we examined the subconductance behavior of 9 natural dendrotoxin homologs and 6 charge neutralization mutants of δ-dendrotoxin in the context of current structural information on the intracellular gating ring domain of the BKCa channel. Calculation of an electrostatic surface map of the BKCa gating ring based on the Poisson-Boltzmann equation reveals a predominantly electronegative surface due to an abundance of solvent-accessible side chains of negatively charged amino acids. Available structure-activity information suggests that cationic DTX/BPTI molecules bind by electrostatic attraction to site(s) on the gating ring located in or near the cytoplasmic side portals where the inactivation ball peptide of the β2 subunit enters to block the channel. Such an interaction may decrease the apparent unitary conductance by altering the dynamic balance of open versus closed states of BKCa channel activation gating.
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