Biophysical journal

Permeation and block of the Kv1.2 channel examined using brownian and molecular dynamics.

PMID 22261055


Using both Brownian and molecular dynamics, we replicate many of the salient features of Kv1.2, including the current-voltage-concentration profiles and the binding affinity and binding mechanisms of charybdotoxin, a scorpion venom. We also elucidate how structural differences in the inner vestibule can give rise to significant differences in its permeation characteristics. Current-voltage-concentration profiles are constructed using Brownian dynamics simulations, based on the crystal structure 2A79. The results are compatible with experimental data, showing similar conductance, rectification, and saturation with current. Unlike KcsA, for example, the inner pore of Kv1.2 is mainly hydrophobic and neutral, and to explore the consequences of this, we investigate the effect of mutating neutral proline residues at the mouth of the inner vestibule to charged aspartate residues. We find an increased conductance, less inward rectification, and quicker saturation of the current-voltage profile. Our simulations use modifications to our Brownian dynamics program that extend the range of channels that can be usefully modeled. Using molecular dynamics, we investigate the binding of the charybdotoxin scorpion venom to the outer vestibule of the channel. A potential of mean force is derived using umbrella sampling, giving a dissociation constant within a factor of ∼2 to experimentally derived constants. The residues involved in the toxin binding are in agreement with experimental mutagenesis studies. We thus show that the experimental observations on the voltage-gated channel, including the toxin-channel interaction, can reliably be replicated by using the two widely used computational tools.

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C7802 Charybdotoxin, ≥90% (HPLC)