11.06.2020: Publication Alert - New Structural insights into Kir channel gating from molecular simulations, HDX-MS and functional studies
The investigations presented in this article are important to remedy dysfunctional channels and are of interest for designing new pharmacological compounds.
Inward rectifier potassium (Kir) channels play diverse and important roles in shaping action potentials in biological membranes. An increasing number of diseases are now known to be directly associated with abnormal Kir function. However, the gating of Kir still remains unknown. To increase our understanding of its gating mechanism, a dynamical view of the entire channel is essential. Here the gating activation was studied using a recent developped in silico method, MDeNM, which combines normal mode analysis and molecular dynamics simulations that showed for the very first time the importance of interrelated collective and localized conformational movements. In particular, we highlighted the role played by concerted movements of the different regions throughout the entire protein, such as the cytoplasmic and transmembrane domains and the slide helices. In addition, the HDX-MS analysis achieved in these studies provided a comprehensive and detailed view of the dynamics associated with open/closed transition of the Kir channel in coherence with the theoretical results. MDeNM gives access to the probability of the different opening states that are in agreement with our electrophysiological experiments. The investigations presented in this article are important to remedy dysfunctional channels and are of interest for designing new pharmacological compounds.