A self-consistent approach for determining pairwise interactions that underlie channel activation

Sandipan Chowdhury, Benjamin M. Haehnel, Baron Chanda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Signaling proteins such as ion channels largely exist in two functional forms, corresponding to the active and resting states, connected by multiple intermediates. Multiparametric kinetic models based on sophisticated electrophysiological experiments have been devised to identify molecular interactions of these conformational transitions. However, this approach is arduous and is not suitable for large-scale perturbation analysis of interaction pathways. Recently, we described a model-free method to obtain the net free energy of activation in voltage- and ligand-activated ion channels. Here we extend this approach to estimate pairwise interaction energies of side chains that contribute to gating transitions. Our approach, which we call generalized interaction-energy analysis (GIA), combines median voltage estimates obtained from charge-voltage curves with mutant cycle analysis to ascertain the strengths of pairwise interactions. We show that, for a system with an arbitrary gating scheme, the nonadditive contributions of amino acid pairs to the net free energy of activation can be computed in a self-consistent manner. Numerical analyses of sequential and allosteric models of channel activation also show that this approach can measure energetic nonadditivities even when perturbations affect multiple transitions. To demonstrate the experimental application of this method, we reevaluated the interaction energies of six previously described long-range interactors in the Shaker potassium channel. Our approach offers the ability to generate detailed interaction energy maps in voltageand ligand-activated ion channels and can be extended to any force-driven system as long as associated "displacement" can be measured.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-455
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of General Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014


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