Structure-function relationships in helix-bundle channels probed via total chemical synthesis of alamethicin dimers: effects of a Gln7 to Asn7 mutation.
Jaikaran DC., Biggin PC., Wenschuh H., Sansom MS., Woolley GA.
Alamethicin channels are prototypical helix bundles that may serve as tractable models for more complex protein ion channels. Solid-phase peptide synthesis of alamethicin analogues using FMOC-amino acid fluorides followed by chemical dimerization of these peptides facilitates structure-function studies of particular channel states in bilayer membranes. State 3 in particular, tentatively assigned to a hexameric helix bundle, is sufficiently long-lived that current-voltage measurements can be made during the lifetime of an individual channel opening. Molecular models of hexameric helix bundles, generated using restrained molecular dynamics with simulated annealing, indicate that a Gln7-->Asn7 (Q7-->N7) mutation will increase channel diameter locally. Experimentally, the conductance of state 3 of the N7-alm channel is found to be larger than that of the Q7-alm channel when ion flow is in the usual direction (cations entering the C-terminal end of the channel). When ion flow is in the opposite direction, no difference in the conductances of state 3 of Q7 and state 3 of N7 channels is observed. These results indicate that the effect of a change in pore diameter at position 7 is dependent on the magnitude of other barriers to permeation and that these barriers are voltage-dependent.