This article presents a brief review on the electrophysiological analysis of the structural aspects of the voltage-dependent SR (sarcoplasmic reticulum) K+ channel. In the first half, early attempts to determine the physical dimensions of the ion conducting mechanism such as the mouth, narrow tunnel, or ion selective filter of the channel, are reviewed. The depicted cartoon of the SR K+ channel, as an extremely short, busy district with a big mouth on each side, is quite similar to the recently-obtained reconstructed structural image of the acetylcholine receptor channel. In the latter half, we introduce our recent attempts to draw a physical image of the gating mechanism of the SR K+ channel. We examined, for example, the location of the gate and the voltage sensor, and the relationship between them. It is suggested that the gate and the sensor are connected tightly and that the sensor would be exposed to the surface of the lumen side of SR when the gate opens. Finally, the issue of substates in SR K+ channel is discussed. It is implied that the substate-conductances reflect a partial occlusion of the pore by an intermediate-open gate.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part C, Comparative|
|Publication status||Published - 1991|
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