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J Gen Physiol. 2016 Oct;148(4):277-91. doi: 10.1085/jgp.201611625. Epub 2016 Sep 12.

Pore size matters for potassium channel conductance.

Author information

1
Centro Interdisciplinario de Neurociencia de Valparaíso, Universidad de Valparaíso, Playa Ancha, Valparaíso 2360103, Chile david.naranjo@uv.cl ignacio.diaz@cinv.cl.
2
Centro Interdisciplinario de Neurociencia de Valparaíso, Universidad de Valparaíso, Playa Ancha, Valparaíso 2360103, Chile.
3
Centro Interdisciplinario de Neurociencia de Valparaíso, Universidad de Valparaíso, Playa Ancha, Valparaíso 2360103, Chile Programa de Doctorado en Ciencias, mención Biofísica y Biología Computacional, Universidad de Valparaíso, Valparaíso 2360103, Chile.
4
Centro Interdisciplinario de Neurociencia de Valparaíso, Universidad de Valparaíso, Playa Ancha, Valparaíso 2360103, Chile Center for Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology, Universidad Andrés Bello, Santiago 8370146, Chile Fraunhofer Chile Research, Las Condes 7550296, Chile david.naranjo@uv.cl ignacio.diaz@cinv.cl.

Abstract

Ion channels are membrane proteins that mediate efficient ion transport across the hydrophobic core of cell membranes, an unlikely process in their absence. K(+) channels discriminate K(+) over cations with similar radii with extraordinary selectivity and display a wide diversity of ion transport rates, covering differences of two orders of magnitude in unitary conductance. The pore domains of large- and small-conductance K(+) channels share a general architectural design comprising a conserved narrow selectivity filter, which forms intimate interactions with permeant ions, flanked by two wider vestibules toward the internal and external openings. In large-conductance K(+) channels, the inner vestibule is wide, whereas in small-conductance channels it is narrow. Here we raise the idea that the physical dimensions of the hydrophobic internal vestibule limit ion transport in K(+) channels, accounting for their diversity in unitary conductance.

PMID:
27619418
PMCID:
PMC5037345
DOI:
10.1085/jgp.201611625
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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