Publication Details

Wang, Y., Finol-Urdaneta, R. K., Ngo, V. A., French, R. J. & Noskov, S. Y. (2019). Bases of Bacterial Sodium Channel Selectivity Among Organic Cations. Scientific Reports, 9 (1), 15260-1-15260-12.


Hille’s (1971) seminal study of organic cation selectivity of eukaryotic voltage-gated sodium channels showed a sharp size cut-off for ion permeation, such that no ion possessing a methyl group was permeant. Using the prokaryotic channel, NaChBac, we found some similarity and two peculiar differences in the selectivity profiles for small polyatomic cations. First, we identified a diverse group of minimally permeant cations for wildtype NaChBac, ranging in sizes from ammonium to guanidinium and tetramethylammonium; and second, for both ammonium and hydrazinium, the charge-conserving selectivity filter mutation (E191D) yielded substantial increases in relative permeability (PX/PNa). The relative permeabilities varied inversely with relative Kd calculated from 1D Potential of Mean Force profiles (PMFs) for the single cations traversing the channel. Several of the cations bound more strongly than Na+, and hence appear to act as blockers, as well as charge carriers. Consistent with experimental observations, the E191D mutation had little impact on Na+ binding to the selectivity filter, but disrupted the binding of ammonium and hydrazinium, consequently facilitating ion permeation across the NaChBac-like filter. We concluded that for prokaryotic sodium channels, a fine balance among filter size, binding affinity, occupancy, and flexibility seems to contribute to observed functional differences.



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