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Single channel analysis of conductance and rectification in cation-selective, mutant glycine receptor channels


Members of the ligand-gated ion channel superfamily mediate fast synaptic transmission in the nervous system. In this study, we investigate the molecular determinants and mechanisms of ion permeation and ion charge selectivity in this family of channels by characterizing the single channel conductance and rectification of alpha1 homomeric human glycine receptor channels (GlyRs) containing pore mutations that impart cation selectivity. The A-1'E mutant GlyR and the selectivity double mutant ([SDM], A-1'E, P-2' Delta) GlyR, had mean inward chord conductances (at -60 mV) of 7 pS and mean outward conductances of 11 and 12 pS (60 mV), respectively. This indicates that the mutations have not simply reduced anion permeability, but have replaced the previous anion conductance with a cation one. An additional mutation to neutralize the ring of positive charge at the extracellular mouth of the channel (SDM+R19'A GlyR) made the conductance-voltage relationship linear (14 pS at both 60 and -60 mV). When this external charged ring was made negative (SDM+R19'E GlyR), the inward conductance was further increased (to 22 pS) and now became sensitive to external divalent cations (being 32 pS in their absence). The effects of the mutations to the external ring of charge on conductance and rectification could be fit to a model where only the main external energy barrier height for permeation was changed. Mean outward conductances in the SDM+R19'A and SDM+R19'E GlyRs were increased when internal divalent cations were absent, consistent with the intracellular end of the pore being flanked by fixed negative charges. This supports our hypothesis that the ion charge selectivity mutations have inverted the electrostatic profile of the pore by introducing a negatively charged ring at the putative selectivity filter. These results also further confirm the role of external pore vestibule electrostatics in determining the conductance and rectification properties of the ligand-gated ion channels.

Type Journal
ISBN 0022-1295 (Print)
Authors Moorhouse, A. J.;Keramidas, A.;Zaykin, A.;Schofield, P. R.;Barry, P. H. :
Published Date 2002-01-01
Published Volume 119
Published Issue 5
Published Pages 411-25
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version