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Neuron. 2004 Oct 14;44(2):295-307.

Structure acquisition of the T1 domain of Kv1.3 during biogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


The T1 recognition domains of voltage-gated K(+) (Kv) channel subunits form tetramers and acquire tertiary structure while still attached to their individual ribosomes. Here we ask when and in which compartment secondary and tertiary structures are acquired. We answer this question using biogenic intermediates and recently developed folding and accessibility assays to evaluate the status of the nascent Kv peptide both inside and outside of the ribosome. A compact structure (likely helical) that corresponds to a region of helicity in the mature structure is already manifest in the nascent protein within the ribosomal tunnel. The T1 domain acquires tertiary structure only after emerging from the ribosomal exit tunnel and complete synthesis of the T1-S1 linker. These measurements of ion channel folding within the ribosomal tunnel and its exit port bear on basic principles of protein folding and pave the way for understanding the molecular basis of protein misfolding, a fundamental cause of channelopathies.

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