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Biophys J. 1995 Oct;69(4):1363-71.

Activation of the M2 ion channel of influenza virus: a role for the transmembrane domain histidine residue.

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1
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208-3500, USA.

Abstract

To test the hypothesis that transmembrane domain histidine residue 37 of the M2 ion channel of influenza A virus mediates the low pH-induced activation of the channel, the residue was changed to glycine, glutamate, arginine, or lysine. The wild-type and altered M2 proteins were expressed in oocytes of Xenopus laevis and membrane currents were recorded. The mass of protein expressed in individual oocytes was measured using quantitative immunoblotting and correlated with membrane currents. Oocytes expressing the M2-H37G protein had a voltage-independent conductance with current-voltage relationship similar to that of the wild-type M2 channel. The conductance of the M2-H37G protein was reversibly inhibited by the M2 ion channel blocker amantadine and was only very slightly modulated by changes in pHout over the range pH 5.4 to pH 8.2. Oocytes expressing the M2-H37E protein also had a voltage-independent conductance with a current-voltage relationship similar to that of the wild-type M2 channel. The conductance of the M2-H37E protein was reversibly inhibited by amantadine and was also only very slightly modulated by changes in pHout over the range pH 5.4 to pH 8.2. These slight alterations in conductance of the mutant ion channels on changes in pHout are in striking contrast to the 50-fold change in conductance seen for the wild-type M2 channel over the range pH 4.5 to pH 8.2. The specific activity of the M2-H37G protein was 1.36 +/- 0.37 microA/ng and the specific activity of the M2-H37E protein was 30 +/- 3 microA/ng at pH 6.2. These values of specific activity greatly exceed that of the wild-type protein at the same pH (0.16 + 0.01 micro A/ng). Oocytes expressing the M2-H37K and M2-H37R mutant proteins could not be studied because the oocytes did not survive more than a few hours in culture. Oocytes expressing the M2-H37E mutant protein also had a voltage-activated Cl- conductance that was observed only for oocytes that expressed a mass of protein exceeding a large threshold value. These results are consistent with protonation of histidine residue 37 as an essential step in the activation of the wild-type M2 ion channel.

PMID:
8534806
PMCID:
PMC1236366
DOI:
10.1016/S0006-3495(95)80003-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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