Kinde, Monica N.; Chen, Qiang; Lawless, Matthew J.; Mowrey, David D.; Xu, Jiawei; Saxena, Sunil; Xu, Yan; Tang, Pei
Conformational Changes Underlying Desensitization of the Pentameric Ligand-Gated Ion Channel ELIC
STRUCTURE, 23:995-1004, JUN 2 2015

Structural rearrangements underlying functional transitions of pentameric ligand-gated ion channels (pLGICs) are not fully understood. Using F-19 nuclear magnetic resonance and electron spin resonance spectroscopy, we found that ELIC, a pLGIC from Erwinia chrysanthemi, expanded the extracellular end and contracted the intracellular end of its pore during transition from the resting to an apparent desensitized state. Importantly, the contraction at the intracellular end of the pore likely forms a gate to restrict ion transport in the desensitized state. This gate differs from the hydrophobic gate present in the resting state. Conformational changes of the TM2-TM3 loop were limited to the N-terminal end. The TM4 helices and the TM3-TM4 loop appeared relatively insensitive to agonist-mediated structural rearrangement. These results indicate that conformational changes accompanying functional transitions are not uniform among different ELIC regions. This work also revealed the co-existence of multiple conformations for a given state and suggested asymmetric conformational arrangements in a homomeric pLGIC.


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