Ion channels: structural bioinformatics and modelling.
Capener CE., Kim HJ., Arinaminpathy Y., Sansom MSP.
Ion channels are membrane proteins of key physiological and pharmacological importance. As is the case for many integral membrane proteins, X-ray structures are known for a few bacterial channels, yet structures of human homologues are required for analysis of channel-associated diseases and for drug design. Homology modelling can be used to help remedy this deficit. In combination with molecular dynamics simulations and associated calculations, modelling provides a powerful approach to understanding structure/function relationships in human ion channels. Modelling techniques have been applied to two classes of potassium channels: voltage-gated (Kv) and inward rectifier (Kir) channels. Kir channel models, based on the structure of the bacterial channel KcsA, have been used as a starting point for detailed simulation studies that have increased our understanding of ion permeation and selectivity mechanisms. The transmembrane domain of GluR0, a bacterial homologue of mammalian glutamate receptors, also may be modelled using the KcsA structure as a template. Models of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor may be constructed in a modular fashion. The snail acetylcholine-binding protein provides a template for the extracellular ligand-binding domain. The transmembrane pore region can be modelled on the basis of NMR structures of the pore-lining M2 helix.