Send to

Choose Destination
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Feb;1818(2):286-93. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2011.07.045. Epub 2011 Aug 5.

Water wires in atomistic models of the Hv1 proton channel.

Author information

Department of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-2025, USA.


The voltage-gated proton channel (Hv1) is homologous to the voltage-sensing domain (VSD) of voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channels but lacks a separate pore domain. The Hv1 monomer has dual functions: it gates the proton current and also serves as the proton conduction pathway. To gain insight into the structure and dynamics of the yet unresolved proton permeation pathway, we performed all-atom molecular dynamics simulations of two different Hv1 homology models in a lipid bilayer in excess water. The structure of the Kv1.2-Kv2.1 paddle-chimera VSD was used as template to generate both models, but they differ in the sequence alignment of the S4 segment. In both models, we observe a water wire that extends through the membrane, whereas the corresponding region is dry in simulations of the Kv1.2-Kv2.1 paddle-chimera. We find that the kinetic stability of the water wire is dependent upon the identity and location of the residues lining the permeation pathway, in particular, the S4 arginines. A measurement of water transport kinetics indicates that the water wire is a relatively static feature of the permeation pathway. Taken together, our results suggest that proton conduction in Hv1 may occur via Grotthuss hopping along a robust water wire, with exchange of water molecules between inner and outer ends of the permeation pathway minimized by specific water-protein interactions. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Membrane protein structure and function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center