Crystal structure and mechanism of a calcium-gated potassium channel

Youxing Jiang, Alice Lee, Jiayun Chen, Martine Cadene, Brian T. Chait, Roderick MacKinnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1213 Scopus citations


Ion channels exhibit two essential biophysical properties; that is, selective ion conduction, and the ability to gate-open in response to an appropriate stimulus. Two general categories of ion channel gating are defined by the initiating stimulus: ligand binding (neurotransmitter- or second-messenger-gated channels) or membrane voltage (voltage-gated channels). Here we present the structural basis of ligand gating in a K+ channel that opens in response to intracellular Ca2+. We have cloned, expressed, analysed electrical properties, and determined the crystal structure of a K+ channel (MthK) from Methanobacterium thermo-autotrophicum in the Ca2+-bound, opened state. Eight RCK domains (regulators of K+ conductance) form a gating ring at the intracellular membrane surface. The gating ring uses the free energy of Ca2+ binding in a simple manner to perform mechanical work to open the pore.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-522
Number of pages8
Issue number6888
StatePublished - May 30 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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