Homology models of the pore loop domain of six eukaryotic potassium channels, Kv1.1-Kv1.6, were generated based on the crystallographic structure of KcsA. The results of amino acid sequence alignment indicate that these Kv channels are composed of two structurally and functionally independent domains: the N-terminal 'voltage sensor' domain and the C-terminal 'pore loop' domain. The homology models reveal that the pore loop domains of these Kv channels exhibit similar folds to those of KcsA. The structural features and specific packing of aromatic residues around the selectivity filter of these Kv channels are nearly identical to those of KcsA, whereas most of the structural variations occur in the turret as well as in the inner and outer helices. The distribution of polar and nonpolar side chains on the surfaces of the KcsA and Kv channels reveals that they exhibit a segregation of side chains common to most integral membrane proteins. As the hydrogen bond between Glu71 and Asp80 in KcsA plays an important role in stabilizing the channel, the substituted Val residue in the Kv family corresponding to Glu71 of KcsA stabilizes the channel by making hydrophobic contact with Tyr residue from the signature sequence of the selectivity filter. The homology models of these Kv channels provide particularly attractive subjects for further structure-based studies.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.