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Investigation of activation and coupling mechanisms of the voltage-gated potassium channel KV7.1 in cardiomyocytes using computational methods

Abstract : KV7.1 is a voltage-gated ion channel that open to selectively diffuse K+ ions across the plasma membrane upon membrane depolarization. In the myocardium tissue, KV7.1 channel is co-expressed with the ancillary subunit KCNE1 to generate the IKS current during cardiac action potential. The mutations of KV7.1 and KCNE1that are linked to severe cardiac arrhythmias make KV7.1 channel a major therapeutic target. Each α-subunit of KV7.1 tetramer counts six transmembrane helices (S1 to S6), the first four ones forming the voltage-sensor domain (VSD), and the last two ones forming the pore domain (PD). This channel has a 2-step activation mechanism involving three stable states: resting, intermediate and activated. These conformations can induce pore opening or closure by a process called VSD-PD coupling. Accordingly, the states for KV7.1 channel are Resting/Closed (RC), Intermediate/Open (IO) and Activated/Open (AO). In the presence of KCNE1, the coupling is inhibited in the intermediate state, thus the states for IKS channel are RC, Intermediate/Closed (IC) and AO. Furthermore, the lipid PIP2 (phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate) plays a crucial role in the VSD-PD coupling of KV7 channels. Despite the information drawn from both functional and structural studies of KV7.1, the modulation mechanisms of its VSD-PD coupling by KCNE1 and PIP2 remain unclear at an atomistic level. With the help of powerful computational tools, we designed molecular models of Kv7.1 in order to have a better understanding of its function. The study of these models, conducted in collaboration with Pr. Jianmin Cui’s research team (Washington University of Saint-Louis, USA) allowed us to obtain four novel results about the way Kv7.1 opens. Indeed, this joint study revealed a novel VSD-PD coupling mechanism that we conceptualized by a “hand-and-elbow” model likely to occur in all domain swapped (KV1- KV7) channels. The analyses of IKS MD trajectories suggest that KCNE1 disrupts the “hand-and-elbow” model. In addition, the interactions between KCNE1 and PIP2 form a tourniquet around the cytoplasmic region of S6, leading to pore closure in both RC and IC models. Finally, the S6 helix of KV7.1 has a motif SFF (338-340), highly conserved in KV7 family, which forms an unidentified hydrophobic gate in KV7.1 pore. Two of these results were confirmed by in vitro experiments conducted by our collaborators on this channel, which validates the quality of our models for innovative therapeutic research.
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https://hal.univ-lorraine.fr/tel-03153171
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Submitted on : Wednesday, March 31, 2021 - 10:40:11 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, March 31, 2021 - 10:40:43 AM
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Audrey Deyawe Kongmeneck. Investigation of activation and coupling mechanisms of the voltage-gated potassium channel KV7.1 in cardiomyocytes using computational methods. Biochemistry, Molecular Biology. Université de Lorraine, 2020. English. ⟨NNT : 2020LORR0175⟩. ⟨tel-03153171⟩

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