Transmembrane segment M2 of glycine receptor as a model system for the pore-forming structure of ion channels
The glycine receptor belongs to the ligand-gated ion channel superfamily. It is a chloride conducting channel composed of four transmembrane domains. It was previously shown that the second transmembrane domain (M2) of the glycine receptor forms an ion conduction pathway throught lipid bilayers. The amino-acid sequence of the transmembrane segment M2 of the glycine receptor has a high homology to all receptors of the ligand-gated ion channel superfamily. In our report, we have used a synthetic M2 peptide. It was incorporated into a planar membrane of known lipid composition and currents induced by M2 were measured by the Black Lipid Membrane technique. When the planar lipid bilayer was composed of 75% phosphatidylethanolamine and 25% phosphatidylserine, the reversal potential measured in a 150/600 mM KCl (cis/trans) gradient was -19 mV suggesting that the examined pore was preferential to anions, Pk/Pci = 0.25. In contrast, when 75% phosphatidylserine and 25% phosphatidylethanolamine was used, the reversal potential was +20 mV and the pore was preferential to cations, Pk/Pci = 4.36. Single-channel currents were recorded with two predominant amplitudes corresponding to the main-conductance and sub-conductance states. Both conductance states (about 12 pS and 30 pS) were measured in a symmetric solution of 50 mM KCl. The observed single-channel properties suggest that the selectivity and conductance of the pore formed by the M2 peptide of the glycine receptor depend on the lipid composition of the planar bilayer.
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