Editors' ChoiceChannels

An Open and Closed Case

STKE  24 Jun 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 188, pp. tw244
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.188.tw244

Potassium channels can be opened or closed by many different signals, which allows them to function in diverse physiological process. Kuo et al. have determined the complete structure of an inwardly rectifying bacterial potassium channel, KirBac1.1, in the closed state at a resolution of 3.65 angstroms. A comparison with previously reported structures of the open state shows how ion flow is prevented in the closed state. In addition, it gives an indication of how conformational changes in the intracellular domain and the transmembrane region are coupled to achieve gating.

A. Kuo, J. M. Gulbis, J. F. Antcliff, T. Rahman, E. D. Lowe, J. Zimmer, J. Cuthbertson, F. M. Ashcroft, T. Ezaki, D. A. Doyle, Crystal structure of the potassium channel KirBac1.1 in the closed state. Science 300, 1922-1926 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]