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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1995 Dec 19;9226:12046-9.
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Three distinct structural environments of a transmembrane domain in the inwardly rectifying potassium channel ROMK1 defined by perturbation.

Choe S , Stevens CF , Sullivan JM .

To probe the protein environment of an ion channel, we have perturbed the structure of a transmembrane domain by substituting side chains with those of two different sizes by using site-specific mutagenesis. We have used Trp and Ala as a high- and a low-impact perturbation probe, respectively, to replace each of 18 consecutive residues within the putative second transmembrane segment, M2, of an inwardly rectifying potassium channel, ROMK1. Our rationale is that a change in the channel function as a consequence of these mutations at a particular position will reflect the structural environment of the altered side chain. Each position can then be assigned to one of three classes of environments, as grated by different levels of perturbation: very tolerant (channel functions with both Trp and Ala substitutions), tolerant (function preserved with Ala but not with Trp substitution), and intolerant (either Ala or Trp substitution destroys function). We identify the very tolerant environment as being lipid-facing, tolerant as protein-interior-facing, and intolerant as pore-facing. We observe a strikingly ordered pattern of perturbation of all three environmental classes. This result indicates that M2 is a straight alpha-helix.

PubMed ID: 8618841
PMC ID: PMC40293
Article link: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: kcnj1

References [+] :
Baldwin, The role of backbone flexibility in the accommodation of variants that repack the core of T4 lysozyme. 1994, Pubmed