Characterization of a Novel Water Pocket Inside the Human Cx26 Hemichannel Structure

Araya-Secchi R; Perez-Acle, T; Kang, SG; Huynh T.; Bernardin A; Escalona Y.; Garate, JA; Martínez AD; Garcia, IE; Sáez JC; Zhou R.


Connexins (Cxs) are a family of vertebrate proteins constituents of gap junction channels (GJCs) that connect the cytoplasm of adjacent cells by the end-to-end docking of two Cx hennichannels. The intercellular transfer through GJCs occurs by passive diffusion allowing the exchange of water, ions, and small molecules. Despite the broad interest to understand, at the molecular level, the functional state of Cx-based channels, there are still many unanswered questions regarding structure-function relationships, perm-selectivity, and gating mechanisms. In particular, the ordering, structure, and dynamics of water inside Cx GJCs and hemichannels remains largely unexplored. In this work, we describe the identification and characterization of a believed novel water pocket-termed the IC pocket-located in-between the four transmembrane helices of each human Cx26 (hCx26) monomer at the intracellular (IC) side. Using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to characterize hCx26 internal water structure and dynamics, six IC pockets were identified per hemichannel. A detailed characterization of the dynamics and ordering of water including conformational variability of residues forming the IC pockets, together with multiple sequence alignments, allowed us to propose a functional role for this cavity. An in vitro assessment of tracer uptake suggests that the IC pocket residue Arg-143 plays an essential role on the modulation of the hCx26 hemichannel permeability.

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Título según WOS: Characterization of a Novel Water Pocket Inside the Human Cx26 Hemichannel Structure
Título según SCOPUS: Characterization of a novel water pocket inside the human Cx26 hemichannel structure
Título de la Revista: BIOPHYSICAL JOURNAL
Volumen: 107
Número: 3
Editorial: Cell Press
Fecha de publicación: 2014
Página de inicio: 599
Página final: 612
Idioma: English


Notas: ISI, SCOPUS - ISI Impact Factor (2013): 3.832 Index medicus: v5n4,Jul. 1965- MEDLINE: v5n4,Jul. 1965- PubMed: v1 1960- OLDMEDLINE: PMC: