Nuclear magnetic resonance structural studies of a potassium channel-charybdotoxin complex

Biochemistry. 2005 Dec 6;44(48):15834-41. doi: 10.1021/bi051656d.


Ion channels play critical roles in signaling processes and are attractive targets for treating various diseases. Here we describe an NMR-based strategy for structural analyses of potassium channel-ligand complexes using KcsA (residues 1-132, with six mutations to impart toxin binding and to mimic the eukaryotic hERG channel). Using this approach, we determined the solution structure of KcsA in complex with the high-affinity peptide antagonist charybdotoxin. The structural data reveal how charybdotoxin binds to the closed form of KcsA and makes specific contacts with the extracellular surface of the ion channel, resulting in pore blockage. This represents the first direct structural information about an ion channel complexed to a peptide antagonist and provides an experimental framework for understanding and interpreting earlier mutational analyses. The strategy presented here overcomes many of the limitations of conventional NMR approaches to helical membrane protein structure determination and can be applied in the study of the binding of druglike molecules to this important class of proteins.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Charybdotoxin / chemistry*
  • Crystallization
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Potassium Channels / chemistry*
  • Potassium Channels / genetics
  • Scorpion Venoms / chemistry
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Shaker Superfamily of Potassium Channels


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Peptides
  • Potassium Channels
  • Scorpion Venoms
  • Shaker B potassium channel polypeptide
  • Shaker Superfamily of Potassium Channels
  • prokaryotic potassium channel
  • Charybdotoxin
  • agitoxin 2

Associated data

  • PDB/2A9H