Nature online: December 4, 2011
Open Structure of the Ca(2+) Gating Ring in the High-conductance Ca(2+)-activated K(+) Channel
Peng Yuan, Manuel D. Leonetti, Yichun Hsiung and Roderick MacKinnon
Here we present the Ca(2+)-bound conformation of the gating ring. This structure shows how one layer of the gating ring, in response to the binding of Ca(2+), opens like the petals of a flower. The degree to which it opens explains how Ca(2+) binding can open the transmembrane pore. These findings present a molecular basis for Ca(2+) activation of K(+) channels and suggest new possibilities for targeting the gating ring to treat conditions such as asthma and hypertension.