Integrative Approach with Electrophysiological and Theoretical Methods Reveals a New Role of S4 Positively Charged Residues in PKD2L1 Channel Voltage-Sensing

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Numerical model-based simulations provide important insights into ion channel gating when experimental limitations exist. Here, a novel strategy combining numerical simulations with patch clamp experiments was used to investigate the net positive charges in the putative transmembrane segment 4 (S4) of the atypical, positively-shifted voltage-dependence of polycystic kidney disease 2-like 1 (PKD2L1) channel. Charge-neutralising mutations (K452Q, K455Q and K461Q) in S4 reduced gating charges, positively shifted the Boltzmann-type activation curve [i.e., open probability (Popen)-V curve] and altered the time-courses of activation/deactivation of PKD2L1, indicating that this region constitutes part of a voltage sensor. Numerical reconstruction of wild-type (WT) and mutant PKD2L1-mediated currents necessitated, besides their voltage-dependent gating parameters, a scaling factor that describes the voltage-dependence of maximal conductance, Gmax. Subsequent single-channel conductance (γ) measurements revealed that voltage-dependence of Gmax in WT can be explained by the inward-rectifying property of γ, which is greatly changed in PKD2L1 mutants. Homology modelling based on PKD2 and NaVAb structures suggest that such voltage dependence of Popen and γ in PKD2L1 could both reflect the charged state of the S4 domain. The present conjunctive experimental and theoretical approaches provide a framework to explore the undetermined mechanism(s) regulating TRP channels that possess non-classical voltage-dependent properties.


  • Scientific Reports

    Scientific Reports (7), 2017-08-29

    Springer Nature


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