The mechanism of fast-gate opening in ClC-0

J Gen Physiol. 2007 Oct;130(4):335-49. doi: 10.1085/jgp.200709759. Epub 2007 Sep 10.


ClC-0 is a chloride channel whose gating is sensitive to both voltage and chloride. Based on analysis of gating kinetics using single-channel recordings, a five-state model was proposed to describe the dependence of ClC-0 fast-gate opening on voltage and external chloride (Chen, T.-Y., and C. Miller. 1996. J. Gen. Physiol. 108:237-250). We aimed to use this five-state model as a starting point for understanding the structural changes that occur during gating. Using macroscopic patch recordings, we were able to reproduce the effects of voltage and chloride that were reported by Chen and Miller and to fit our opening rate constant data to the five-state model. Upon further analysis of both our data and those of Chen and Miller, we learned that in contrast to their conclusions, (a) the features in the data are not adequate to rule out a simpler four-state model, and (b) the chloride-binding step is voltage dependent. In order to be able to evaluate the effects of mutants on gating (described in the companion paper, see Engh et al. on p. 351 of this issue), we developed a method for determining the error on gating model parameters, and evaluated the sources of this error. To begin to mesh the kinetic model(s) with the known CLC structures, a model of ClC-0 was generated computationally based on the X-ray crystal structure of the prokaryotic homolog ClC-ec1. Analysis of pore electrostatics in this homology model suggests that at least two of the conclusions derived from the gating kinetics analysis are consistent with the known CLC structures: (1) chloride binding is necessary for channel opening, and (2) chloride binding to any of the three known chloride-binding sites must be voltage dependent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites / physiology
  • Chloride Channels* / chemistry
  • Chloride Channels* / metabolism
  • Chlorides / chemistry
  • Chlorides / metabolism
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Ion Channel Gating*
  • Kinetics
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Models, Biological*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Regression Analysis
  • Static Electricity
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Torpedo / metabolism


  • CLC-0 chloride channel protein, Torpedo californica
  • Chloride Channels
  • Chlorides