Engineering stabilized ion channels: covalent dimers of alamethicin.
You S., Peng S., Lien L., Breed J., Sansom MS., Woolley GA.
The peptide alamethicin forms channels with a variety of conductance states. Selective stabilization of a particular state should simplify the task of understanding conductance in terms of channel structure. We synthesized two different covalent dimers of alamethicin in which peptides were linked at their C-terminal ends by flexible tethers. Both dimeric peptides formed channels with conductances that matched those of alamethicin channels. Particular conductance states were selectively stabilized, however, with lifetimes up to 170-fold longer than the same states observed with monomers. In addition, tethering appeared to limit the size of the structures formed so that, even at higher peptide concentrations, a single predominant conductance state was obtained. We suggest this state corresponds to a channel made from six alamethicin molecules (three dimers).