Although the overall structure of many classical transient receptor potential proteins (TRPC), including human and murine TRPC6, were recently resolved by cryoelectron microscopy analysis, structural changes during channel activation by 1-oleoyl-1-acetyl-sn-glycerol (OAG), the membrane-permeable analog of diacylglycerol, were not defined. Moreover, data on carboxyl- and amino-terminal interactions were not provided, as the amino-terminal regions of murine and human TRPC6 were not resolved. Therefore, we employed a Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) approach using a small fluorescein arsenical hairpin (FlAsH) targeted to a short tetracysteine sequence at the unresolved amino-terminus and cerulean, a cyan fluorescent protein, as a tag at the carboxyl-terminus of the murine TRPC6 protein. After OAG as well as GSK-1702934A activation, FRET efficiency was simultaneously and significantly reduced, indicating a decreased interaction between the amino to carboxyl termini in the functional tagged murine TRPC6 tetramer (TRPC6 WT) heterologously expressed in human embryonic kidney 293T cells. There was a significant reduction in the FRET signal obtained from analysis of murine TRPC6 FRET constructs with homologous amino-terminal mutations (M131T, G108S) that had been identified in human patients with inherited focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a condition that can lead to end-stage renal disease. A novel, designed loss-of-function TRPC6 mutation (N109A) in the amino-terminus in close proximity to the carboxyl-terminus produced similar FRET ratios. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Our data show for the first time that FlAsH-tagging of ion channels is a promising tool to study conformational changes after channel opening and may significantly advance the analysis of ion channel activation as well as their mutants involved in channelopathies.
Copyright © 2019 by The Author(s).