Researchers from Utrecht University and the University of Chicago have unravelled the molecular basis of a widespread yet poorly understood regulatory mechanism called ‘modal gating’ in ion channels. Modal gating means that ion channels seemingly randomly change their activity level. The researchers could demonstrate that characteristic changes in the channels’ dynamics cause these activity shifts. This finding provides a better understanding of eukaryotic voltage-gated potassium channels that are important drug targets for, e.g., cardiovascular or neurological disorders. The study, led by Dr. Markus Weingarth of Utrecht University, is published in Nature Communications.
Shifts in the selectivity filter dynamics cause modal gating in K+ channels
Shehrazade Jekhmane, João Medeiros-Silva, Jing Li, Felix Kümmerer, Christoph Müller-Hermes, Marc Baldus, Benoît Roux & Markus Weingarth
Nature Communications 10, Article number: 123 (2019), DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-07973-6