Arranging the elements of the potassium channel: The T1 domain occludes the cytoplasmic face of the channel

Anurag Varshney, Baron Chanda, M. K. Mathew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The voltage-gated potassium channel is currently one of the few membrane proteins where functional roles have been mapped onto specific segments of sequence. Although high-resolution structures of the transmembrane portions of three bacterial potassium channels, the tetramerization domain and the cytoplasmic "ball" are available, their relative spatial arrangement in mammalian channels remains a matter of ongoing debate. Cryo-electron microscopic images of the six transmembrane voltage-gated Kv channel have been reconstructed at up to 18 Å resolution, revealing that the T1 domain tetramerizes and is suspended below the transmembrane segments. However, the resolution of these images is insufficient to reveal the location of the third piece of the puzzle, the inactivating ball domain. We have used the aberrant interactions observed in a series of chimæric channels to establish that an assembled T1 domain restricts access to the cytoplasmic face of the channel, suggesting that the N-terminal "ball and chain" may be confined in the space between the T1 domain and the transmembrane portion of the channel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-376
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Biophysics Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2004


  • Activation
  • N-terminus
  • Potassium channels
  • Structure
  • Voltage dependence


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