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Quantized Dehydration and the Determinants of Selectivity in the NaChBac Bacterial Sodium Channel

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>20/03/2018
Issue number1803.07063
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish


A discrete electrostatic/diffusion model has been developed to describe the selective permeation of ion channels, based on ionic Coulomb blockade (ICB) and quantised dehydration (QD). It has been applied to describe selectivity phenomena measured in the bacterial NaChBac sodium channel and some of its mutants. Site-directed mutagenesis and the whole-cell patch-clamp technique were used to investigate how the value $Q_f$ of the fixed charge at the selectivity filter (SF) affected both valence and alike-charge selectivity. The new ICB/QD model predicts that increasing ${Q_f}$ should lead to a shift of selectivity sequences towards larger ion sizes and charges, a result that agrees with the present experiments and with earlier work. Comparison of the model with experimental data provides evidence for an {\it effective charge} $Q_f^*$ at the SF that is smaller in magnitude than the nominal $Q_f$ corresponding to the charge on the isolated protein residues. Furthermore, $Q_f^*$ was different for aspartate and glutamate charged rings and also depended on their position within the SF. It is suggested that protonation of the residues within the restricted space is an important factor in significantly reducing the effective charge of the EEEE ring. Values of $Q_f^*$ derived from experiments on the anomalous mole fraction effect (AMFE) agree well with expectations based on the ICB/QD model and have led to the first clear demonstration of the expected ICB oscillations in Ca$^{2+}$ conduction as a function of the fixed charge. Pilot studies of the dependence of Ca$^{2+}$ conduction on pH are consistent with the predictions of the model.