Two identical noninteracting sites in an ion channel revealed by proton transfer

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Science  23 Sep 1994:
Vol. 265, Issue 5180, pp. 1852-1856
DOI: 10.1126/science.7522344


The functional consequences of single proton transfers occurring in the pore of a cyclic nucleotide-gated channel were observed with patch recording techniques. These results led to three conclusions about the chemical nature of ion binding sites in the conduction pathway: The channel contains two identical titratable sites, even though there are more than two (probably four) identical subunits; the sites are formed by glutamate residues that have a pKa (where K(a) is the acid constant) of 7.6; and protonation of one site does not perturb the pKa of the other. These properties point to an unusual arrangement of carboxyl side-chain residues in the pore of a cation channel.