Pang, Chun-Li; Yuan, Hong-Bo; Cao, Tian-Guang; Su, Ji-Guo; Chen, Ya-Fei; Liu, Hui; Yu, Hui; Zhang, Hai-Ling; Zhan, Yong; An, Hai-Long; Han, Yue-Bin
Molecular simulation assisted identification of Ca2+ binding residues in TMEM16A

Calcium-activated chloride channels (CaCCs) play vital roles in a variety of physiological processes. Transmembrane protein 16A (TMEM16A) has been confirmed as the molecular counterpart of CaCCs which greatly pushes the molecular insights of CaCCs forward. However, the detailed mechanism of Ca2+ binding and activating the channel is still obscure. Here, we utilized a combination of computational and electrophysiological approaches to discern the molecular mechanism by which Ca2+ regulates the gating of TMEM16A channels. The simulation results show that the first intracellular loop serves as a Ca2+ binding site including D439, E444 and E447. The experimental results indicate that a novel residue, E447, plays key role in Ca2+ binding. Compared with WT TMEM16A, E447Y produces a 30-fold increase in EC50 of Ca2+ activation and leads to a 100-fold increase in Ca2+ concentrations that is needed to fully activate the channel. The following steered molecular dynamic (SMD) simulation data suggests that the mutations at 447 reduce the Ca2+ dissociation energy. Our results indicated that both the electrical property and the size of the side-chain at residue 447 have significant effects on Ca2+ dependent gating of TMEM16A.


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