K2P channel gating mechanisms revealed by structures of TREK-2 and a complex with Prozac

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Science  13 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6227, pp. 1256-1259
DOI: 10.1126/science.1261512

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A sensitive regulator of cellular potassium

A class of potassium channels called K2P channels modulates resting membrane potential in most cells. The channels are regulated by multiple ligands, including the antidepressant drug Prozac, as well as factors such as mechanical stretch and voltage. Dong et al. determined the structure of the human K2P channel, TREK-2, in two conformations and bound to a metabolite of Prozac. The structures show how ligand binding or mechanical stretch might induce switching between the states. Although both states have open channels, one appears primed for gating. A Prozac metabolite binds to the primed state and prevents conformational switching. K2P channels are not a target of Prozac, but their inhibition may contribute to side effects.

Science, this issue p. 1256


TREK-2 (KCNK10/K2P10), a two-pore domain potassium (K2P) channel, is gated by multiple stimuli such as stretch, fatty acids, and pH and by several drugs. However, the mechanisms that control channel gating are unclear. Here we present crystal structures of the human TREK-2 channel (up to 3.4 angstrom resolution) in two conformations and in complex with norfluoxetine, the active metabolite of fluoxetine (Prozac) and a state-dependent blocker of TREK channels. Norfluoxetine binds within intramembrane fenestrations found in only one of these two conformations. Channel activation by arachidonic acid and mechanical stretch involves conversion between these states through movement of the pore-lining helices. These results provide an explanation for TREK channel mechanosensitivity, regulation by diverse stimuli, and possible off-target effects of the serotonin reuptake inhibitor Prozac.

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