Effective pore size and radius of capture for K+ ions in K-channels

Hans Moldenhauer, Ignacio Díaz-Franulic, Fernando González-Nilo, David Naranjo

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Reconciling protein functional data with crystal structure is arduous because rare conformations or crystallization artifacts occur. Here we present a tool to validate the dimensions of open pore structures of potassium-selective ion channels. We used freely available algorithms to calculate the molecular contour of the pore to determine the effective internal pore radius (rE) in several K-channel crystal structures. rE was operationally defined as the radius of the biggest sphere able to enter the pore from the cytosolic side. We obtained consistent rE estimates for MthK and Kv1.2/2.1 structures, with rE = 5.3-5.9 Å and rE = 4.5-5.2 Å, respectively. We compared these structural estimates with functional assessments of the internal mouth radii of capture (rC) for two electrophysiological counterparts, the large conductance calcium activated K-channel (rC = 2.2 Å) and the Shaker Kv-channel (rC = 0.8 Å), for MthK and Kv1.2/2.1 structures, respectively. Calculating the difference between rE and rC, produced consistent size radii of 3.1-3.7 Å and 3.6-4.4 Å for hydrated K+ ions. These hydrated K+ estimates harmonize with others obtained with diverse experimental and theoretical methods. Thus, these findings validate MthK and the Kv1.2/2.1 structures as templates for open BK and Kv-channels, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19893
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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