Engineering charge selectivity in alamethicin channels.
Woolley GA., Starostin AV., Butan R., James DA., Wenschuh H., Sansom MS.
The peptide alamethicin provides a system for engineering ion channel charge selectivity. To define alamethicin charge selectivity experimentally, we measured single-channel current-voltage relationships in KCl gradients using covalently linked peptide dimers. Two factors were found to contribute to the charge selectivity of these channels: (i) the ionic strength of the surrounding solutions; and (ii) the distribution of fixed charge on the peptide. Native alamethicin channels exhibited either cation selectivity or anion selectivity depending on which end of the channel was at the low salt side of the membrane. When the glutamine residue at position 18 in the sequence was replaced with a lysine residue, an anion-selective channel was obtained regardless of which end of the channel was at the low salt side of the membrane.