The goal of this research proposal is to pursue our efforts to characterize the fundamental principles governing ion channel function from a detailed atomic and molecular perspective. The KcsA channel provides a fantastic framework for deepening our understanding of the physics of ion permeation and selectivity. This channel also exhibits a gating process involving a conformational change of the selectivity filter similar to the familiar C- type (slow) inactivation. The structures of the open KcsA with its filter in the conductive and inactivated state have now been determined by x-ray crystallography in the Perozo lab, and one can start to unravel the structural and energetic features governing this complex process using advanced computational methods. Concerning voltage gating, the structure of the Kv1.2 channel provides an excellent starting point for designing better atomic models and experiments. Furthermore, there growing body of information about numerous channels, which allows us to address several fundamental issues about permeation concerning the nature of ion diffusion through wide aqueous vestibules and its sensitivity to pore shape and electrostatics. The proposed projects are designed to address fundamental issues about ion permeation, inactivation and gating using a computational and experimental approach. We use a combination of computational (all-atom molecular dynamics simulations, potential of mean force umbrella sampling computations, Poisson-Boltzmann calculations, Brownian dynamics simulations, string method with swarms-of-trajectories) and experimental approaches (x- ray crystallography). The computational efforts are designed to help develop a coherent perspective from the (sometimes conflicting) information from the wide range of structural, biophysical and functional measurements and make experimentally testable predictions. The planned experimental investigations are directly relevant to issues raised by the modeling.

Public Health Relevance

The goal of this research project is to expand our understanding of the function of ion channels at the molecular level using realistic computer simulations and experiments. Malfunction of ion channels have a broad impact on human health, including neurological disorders, epilepsia, heart arrhythmia, immune response, and cellular secretion. The fundamental knowledge gained by the proposed studies is also expected to play an important role in drug discovery and lead optimization.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
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Biophysics of Neural Systems Study Section (BPNS)
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Shapiro, Bert I
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University of Chicago
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Li, Jing; Ostmeyer, Jared; Cuello, Luis G et al. (2018) Rapid constriction of the selectivity filter underlies C-type inactivation in the KcsA potassium channel. J Gen Physiol 150:1408-1420
Roux, Benoît (2017) Ion channels and ion selectivity. Essays Biochem 61:201-209
Kratochvil, Huong T; Maj, Micha?; Matulef, Kimberly et al. (2017) Probing the Effects of Gating on the Ion Occupancy of the K+ Channel Selectivity Filter Using Two-Dimensional Infrared Spectroscopy. J Am Chem Soc 139:8837-8845
Li, Jing; Ostmeyer, Jared; Boulanger, Eliot et al. (2017) Chemical substitutions in the selectivity filter of potassium channels do not rule out constricted-like conformations for C-type inactivation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114:11145-11150
Medovoy, David; Perozo, Eduardo; Roux, Benoît (2016) Multi-ion free energy landscapes underscore the microscopic mechanism of ion selectivity in the KcsA channel. Biochim Biophys Acta 1858:1722-32
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Dhakshnamoorthy, Balasundaresan; Rohaim, Ahmed; Rui, Huan et al. (2016) Structural and functional characterization of a calcium-activated cation channel from Tsukamurella paurometabola. Nat Commun 7:12753
Kratochvil, Huong T; Carr, Joshua K; Matulef, Kimberly et al. (2016) Instantaneous ion configurations in the K+ ion channel selectivity filter revealed by 2D IR spectroscopy. Science 353:1040-1044
Castillo, Juan P; Rui, Huan; Basilio, Daniel et al. (2015) Mechanism of potassium ion uptake by the Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase. Nat Commun 6:7622
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