The NH2 terminus of RCK1 domain regulates Ca2+- dependent BKCa channel gating

Gayathri Krishnamoorthy, Jingyi Shi, David Sept, Jianmin Cui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Large conductance, voltage- and Ca2+ -activated K+ (BKCa) channels regulate blood vessel tone, synaptic transmission, and hearing owing to dual activation by membrane depolarization and intracellular Ca2+. Similar to an archeon Ca2+ -activated K+ channel, MthK, each of four α subunits of BKCa may contain two cytosolic RCK domains and eight of which may form a gating ring. The structure of the MthK channel suggests that the RCK domains reorient with one another upon Ca2+ binding to change the gating ring conformation and open the activation gate. Here we report that the conformational changes of the NH2 terminus of RCK1 (AC region) modulate BKCa gating. Such modulation depends on Ca2+ occupancy and activation states, but is not directly related to the Ca2+ binding sites. These results demonstrate that AC region is important in the allosteric coupling between Ca2+ binding and channel opening. Thus, the conformational changes of the AC region within each RCK domain is likely to be an important step in addition to the reorientation of RCK domains leading to the opening of the BKCa activation gate. Our observations are consistent with a mechanism for Ca2+-dependent activation of BKCa channels such that the AC region inhibits channel activation when the channel is at the closed state in the absence of Ca2+; Ca2+ binding and depolarization relieve this inhibition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-241
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of General Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005


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