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J Biol Chem. 2003 Mar 28;278(13):11237-45. Epub 2003 Jan 27.

C termini of the Escherichia coli mechanosensitive ion channel (MscS) move apart upon the channel opening.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology; 3, Pasteur Street, 02-093 Warsaw, Poland.


Heptameric YggB is a mechanosensitive ion channel (MscS) from the inner membrane of Escherichia coli. We demonstrate, using the patch clamp technique, that cross-linking of the YggB C termini led to irreversible inhibition of the channel activities. Application of Ni(2+) to the YggB-His(6) channels with the hexahistidine tags added to the ends of their C termini also resulted in a marked but reversible decrease of activities. Western blot revealed that YggB-His(6) oligomers are more stable in the presence of Ni(2+), providing evidence that Ni(2+) is coordinated between C termini from different subunits of the channel. Intersubunit coordination of Ni(2+) affecting channel activities occurred in the channel closed conformation and not in the open state. This may suggest that the C termini move apart upon channel opening and are involved in the channel activation. We propose that the as yet undefined C-terminal region may form a cytoplasmic gate of the channel. The results are discussed and interpreted based on the recently released quaternary structure of the channel.

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