Pflugers Archiv : European journal of physiology

Interactions between the N-terminal tail and the gating machinery of hERG K⁺ channels both in closed and open/inactive states.

PMID 25224286


The N-terminal-most N-tail of the human ether-à-go-go-related gene (hERG) potassium channel is a crucial modulator of deactivation through its interactions with the S4-S5 loop and/or the C-linker/cNBD, leading to a stabilization of the channel's open state. Not only the N-terminal, but also the initial C-terminal region of the channel can modulate the transitions between the open and closed states either by direct or by indirect/allosteric interactions with the gating machinery. However, while a physical proximity of the N-tail to the gating machinery has been demonstrated in the closed state, data about their possible interaction in other channel conformations have been lacking. Using a site-directed cysteine mutagenesis and disulfide chemistry approach, we present here evidence that a physical proximity between the N-tail and the gating-related structures can also exist in channels held between pulses in the open/inactive state, highlighting the physiological and functional relevance of the direct interactions between the N-terminal tail and the S4-S5 loop and/or C-linker structures for modulation of channel.