Extraordinary selectivity is crucial to all proton-conducting molecules, including the human voltage-gated proton channel (hHV1), because the proton concentration is >10(6) times lower than that of other cations. Here we use "selectivity filter scanning" to elucidate the molecular requirements for proton-specific conduction in hHV1. Asp(112), in the middle of the S1 transmembrane helix, is an essential part of the selectivity filter in wild-type (WT) channels. After neutralizing Asp(112) by mutating it to Ala (D112A), we introduced Asp at each position along S1 from 108 to 118, searching for "second site suppressor" activity. Surprisingly, most mutants lacked even the anion conduction exhibited by D112A. Proton-specific conduction was restored only with Asp or Glu at position 116. The D112V/V116D channel strikingly resembled WT in selectivity, kinetics, and ?pH-dependent gating. The S4 segment of this mutant has similar accessibility to WT in open channels, because R211H/D112V/V116D was inhibited by internally applied Zn(2+). Asp at position 109 allowed anion permeation in combination with D112A but did not rescue function in the nonconducting D112V mutant, indicating that selectivity is established externally to the constriction at F150. The three positions that permitted conduction all line the pore in our homology model, clearly delineating the conduction pathway. Evidently, a carboxyl group must face the pore directly to enable conduction. Molecular dynamics simulations indicate reorganization of hydrogen bond networks in the external vestibule in D112V/V116D. At both positions where it produces proton selectivity, Asp frequently engages in salt linkage with one or more Arg residues from S4. Surprisingly, mean hydration profiles were similar in proton-selective, anion-permeable, and nonconducting constructs. That the selectivity filter functions in a new location helps to define local environmental features required to produce proton-selective conduction.
The topological similarity of voltage-gated proton channels (H(V)1s) to the voltage-sensing domain (VSD) of other voltage-gated ion channels raises the central question of whether H(V)1s have a similar structure. We present the construction and validation of a homology model of the human H(V)1 (hH(V)1). Multiple structural alignment was used to construct structural models of the open (proton-conducting) state of hH(V)1 by exploiting the homology of hH(V)1 with VSDs of K(+) and Na(+) channels of known three-dimensional structure. The comparative assessment of structural stability of the homology models and their VSD templates was performed using massively repeated molecular dynamics simulations in which the proteins were allowed to relax from their initial conformation in an explicit membrane mimetic. The analysis of structural deviations from the initial conformation based on up to 125 repeats of 100-ns simulations for each system reveals structural features consistently retained in the homology models and leads to a consensus structural model for hH(V)1 in which well-defined external and internal salt-bridge networks stabilize the open state. The structural and electrostatic properties of this open-state model are compatible with proton translocation and offer an explanation for the reversal of charge selectivity in neutral mutants of Asp(112). Furthermore, these structural properties are consistent with experimental accessibility data, providing a valuable basis for further structural and functional studies of hH(V)1. Each Arg residue in the S4 helix of hH(V)1 was replaced by His to test accessibility using Zn(2+) as a probe. The two outermost Arg residues in S4 were accessible to external solution, whereas the innermost one was accessible only to the internal solution. Both modeling and experimental data indicate that in the open state, Arg(211), the third Arg residue in the S4 helix in hH(V)1, remains accessible to the internal solution and is located near the charge transfer center, Phe(150).
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by human monocytes differs profoundly from that by neutrophils and eosinophils in its dependence on external media glucose. Activated granulocytes produce vast amounts of ROS, even in the absence of glucose. Human peripheral blood monocytes (PBM), in contrast, are suspected not to be able to produce any ROS if glucose is absent from the media. Here we compare ROS production by monocytes and neutrophils, measured electrophysiologically on a single-cell level. Perforated-patch-clamp measurements revealed that electron current appeared after stimulation of PBM with phorbol myristate acetate. Electron current reflects the translocation of electrons through the NADPH oxidase, the main source of ROS production. The electron current was nearly abolished by omitting glucose from the media. Furthermore, in preactivated glucose-deprived cells, electron current appeared immediately with the addition of glucose to the bath. To characterize glucose dependence of PBM further, NADPH oxidase activity was assessed as hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) production and was recorded fluorometrically. H(2)O(2) production exhibited similar glucose dependence as did electron current. We show fundamental differences in the glucose dependence of ROS in human monocytes compared with human neutrophils.
Fogel and Hastings first hypothesized the existence of voltage-gated proton channels in 1972 in bioluminescent dinoflagellates, where they were thought to trigger the flash by activating luciferase. Proton channel genes were subsequently identified in human, mouse, and Ciona intestinalis, but their existence in dinoflagellates remained unconfirmed. We identified a candidate proton channel gene from a Karlodinium veneficum cDNA library based on homology with known proton channel genes. K. veneficum is a predatory, nonbioluminescent dinoflagellate that produces toxins responsible for fish kills worldwide. Patch clamp studies on the heterologously expressed gene confirm that it codes for a genuine voltage-gated proton channel, kH(V)1: it is proton-specific and activated by depolarization, its g(H)-V relationship shifts with changes in external or internal pH, and mutation of the selectivity filter (which we identify as Asp(51)) results in loss of proton-specific conduction. Indirect evidence suggests that kH(V)1 is monomeric, unlike other proton channels. Furthermore, kH(V)1 differs from all known proton channels in activating well negative to the Nernst potential for protons, E(H). This unique voltage dependence makes the dinoflagellate proton channel ideally suited to mediate the proton influx postulated to trigger bioluminescence. In contrast to vertebrate proton channels, whose main function is acid extrusion, we propose that proton channels in dinoflagellates have fundamentally different functions of signaling and excitability.
The ion selectivity of pumps and channels is central to their ability to perform a multitude of functions. Here we investigate the mechanism of the extraordinary selectivity of the human voltage-gated proton channel, H(V)1 (also known as HVCN1). This selectivity is essential to its ability to regulate reactive oxygen species production by leukocytes, histamine secretion by basophils, sperm capacitation, and airway pH. The most selective ion channel known, H(V)1 shows no detectable permeability to other ions. Opposing classes of selectivity mechanisms postulate that (1) a titratable amino acid residue in the permeation pathway imparts proton selectivity, or (2) water molecules frozen in a narrow pore conduct protons while excluding other ions. Here we identify aspartate 112 as a crucial component of the selectivity filter of H(V)1. When a neutral amino acid replaced Asp?112, the mutant channel lost proton specificity and became anion-selective or did not conduct. Only the glutamate mutant remained proton-specific. Mutation of the nearby Asp?185 did not impair proton selectivity, indicating that Asp?112 has a unique role. Although histidine shuttles protons in other proteins, when histidine or lysine replaced Asp?112, the mutant channel was still anion-permeable. Evidently, the proton specificity of H(V)1 requires an acidic group at the selectivity filter.
The voltage-gated proton channel exists as a dimer, although each protomer has a separate conduction pathway, and when forced to exist as a monomer, most major functions are retained. However, the proton channel protomers appear to interact during gating. Proton channel dimerization is thought to result mainly from coiled-coil interaction of the intracellular C-termini. Several types of evidence are discussed that suggest that the dimer conformation may not be static, but is dynamic and can sample different orientations. Zn(2+) appears to link the protomers in an orientation from which the channel(s) cannot open. A tandem WT-WT dimer exhibits signs of cooperative gating, indicating that despite the abnormal linkage, the correct orientation for opening can occur. We propose that C-terminal interaction functions mainly to tether the protomers together. Comparison of the properties of monomeric and dimeric proton channels speaks against the hypothesis that enhanced gating reflects monomer-dimer interconversion.
Voltage-gated proton channels are strongly inhibited by Zn(2+), which binds to His residues. However, in a molecular model, the two externally accessible His are too far apart to coordinate Zn(2+). We hypothesize that high-affinity Zn(2+) binding occurs at the dimer interface between pairs of His residues from both monomers. Consistent with this idea, Zn(2+) effects were weaker in monomeric channels. Mutation of His(193) and His(140) in various combinations and in tandem dimers revealed that channel opening was slowed by Zn(2+) only when at least one His was present in each monomer, suggesting that in wild-type (WT) H(V)1, Zn(2+) binding between His of both monomers inhibits channel opening. In addition, monomeric channels opened exponentially, and dimeric channels opened sigmoidally. Monomeric channel gating had weaker temperature dependence than dimeric channels. Finally, monomeric channels opened 6.6 times faster than dimeric channels. Together, these observations suggest that in the proton channel dimer, the two monomers are closely apposed and interact during a cooperative gating process. Zn(2+) appears to slow opening by preventing movement of the monomers relative to each other that is prerequisite to opening. These data also suggest that the association of the monomers is tenuous and allows substantial freedom of movement. The data support the idea that native proton channels are dimeric. Finally, the idea that monomer-dimer interconversion occurs during activation of phagocytes appears to be ruled out.
Voltage-gated proton currents regulate generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in phagocytic cells. In B cells, stimulation of the B cell antigen receptor (BCR) results in the production of ROS that participate in B cell activation, but the involvement of proton channels is unknown. We report here that the voltage-gated proton channel HVCN1 associated with the BCR complex and was internalized together with the BCR after activation. BCR-induced generation of ROS was lower in HVCN1-deficient B cells, which resulted in attenuated BCR signaling via impaired BCR-dependent oxidation of the tyrosine phosphatase SHP-1. This resulted in less activation of the kinases Syk and Akt, impaired mitochondrial respiration and glycolysis and diminished antibody responses in vivo. Our findings identify unanticipated functions for proton channels in B cells and demonstrate the importance of ROS in BCR signaling and downstream metabolism.
Voltage-gated proton channels and NADPH oxidase function cooperatively in phagocytes during the respiratory burst, when reactive oxygen species are produced to kill microbial invaders. Agents that activate NADPH oxidase also enhance proton channel gating profoundly, facilitating its roles in charge compensation and pH(i) regulation. The "enhanced gating mode" appears to reflect protein kinase C (PKC) phosphorylation. Here we examine two candidates for PKC-delta phosphorylation sites in the human voltage-gated proton channel, H(V)1 (Hvcn1), Thr(29) and Ser(97), both in the intracellular N terminus. Channel phosphorylation was reduced in single mutants S97A or T29A, and further in the double mutant T29A/S97A, by an in vitro kinase assay with PKC-delta. Enhanced gating was evaluated by expressing wild-type (WT) or mutant H(V)1 channels in LK35.2 cells, a B cell hybridoma. Stimulation by phorbol myristate acetate enhanced WT channel gating, and this effect was reversed by treatment with the PKC inhibitor GF109203X. The single mutant T29A or double mutant T29A/S97A failed to respond to phorbol myristate acetate or GF109203X. In contrast, the S97A mutant responded like cells transfected with WT H(V)1. We conclude that under these conditions, direct phosphorylation of the proton channel molecule at Thr(29) is primarily responsible for the enhancement of proton channel gating. This phosphorylation is crucial to activation of the proton conductance during the respiratory burst in phagocytes.
Phagocytosis of microbial invaders represents a fundamental defense mechanism of the innate immune system. The subsequent killing of microbes is initiated by the respiratory burst, in which nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase generates vast amounts of superoxide anion, precursor to bactericidal reactive oxygen species. Cytoplasmic pH regulation is crucial because NADPH oxidase functions optimally at neutral pH, yet produces enormous quantities of protons. We monitored pH(i) in individual human neutrophils during phagocytosis of opsonized zymosan, using confocal imaging of the pH sensing dye SNARF-1, enhanced by shifted excitation and emission ratioing, or SEER. Despite long-standing dogma that Na(+)/H(+) antiport regulates pH during the phagocyte respiratory burst, we show here that voltage-gated proton channels are the first transporter to respond. During the initial phagocytotic event, pH(i) decreased sharply, and recovery required both Na(+)/H(+) antiport and proton current. Inhibiting myeloperoxidase attenuated the acidification, suggesting that diffusion of HOCl into the cytosol comprises a substantial acid load. Inhibiting proton channels with Zn(2+) resulted in profound acidification to levels that inhibit NADPH oxidase. The pH changes accompanying phagocytosis in bone marrow phagocytes from HVCN1-deficient mice mirrored those in control mouse cells treated with Zn(2+). Both the rate and extent of acidification in HVCN1-deficient cells were twice larger than in control cells. In summary, acid extrusion by proton channels is essential to the production of reactive oxygen species during phagocytosis.
Voltage gated proton channels and NADPH oxidase function cooperatively in phagocytes during the respiratory burst, when reactive oxygen species are produced to kill microbial invaders. Although these molecules are distinct entities, with no proven physical interaction, their presence and activity in many cells appears to be coordinated. We describe these interactions and discuss several types of mechanisms that might explain them.
The biophysical properties of the voltage gated proton channel (H(V)1) are the key elements of its physiological function. The voltage gated proton channel is a unique molecule that in contrast to all other ion channels is exclusively selective for protons. Alone among proton channels, it has voltage and time dependent gating like other "classical" ion channels. H(V)1 is furthermore a sensor for the pH in the cell and the surrounding media. Its voltage dependence is strictly coupled to the pH gradient across the membrane. This regulation restricts opening of the channel to specific voltages at any given pH gradient, therefore allowing H(V)1 to perform its physiological task in the tissue it is expressed in. For H(V)1 there is no known blocker. The most potent channel inhibitor is zinc (Zn(2+)) which prevents channel opening. An additional characteristic of H(V)1 is its strong temperature dependence of both gating and conductance. In contrast to single-file water filled pores like the gramicidin channel, H(V)1 exhibits pronounced deuterium effects and temperature effects on conduction, consistent with a different conduction mechanism than other ion channels. These properties may be explained by the recent identification of an aspartate in the pore of H(V)1 that is essential to its proton selectivity.
Physiological and pathological processes in spermatozoa involve the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), but the identity of the ROS-producing enzyme system(s) remains a matter of speculation. We provide the first evidence that NOX5 NADPH oxidase is expressed and functions in human spermatozoa. Immunofluorescence microscopy detected NOX5 protein in both the flagella/neck region and the acrosome. Functionally, spermatozoa exposed to calcium ionophore, phorbol ester, or H(2)O(2) exhibited superoxide anion production, which was blocked by addition of superoxide dismutase, a Ca(2+) chelator, or inhibitors of either flavoprotein oxidases (diphenylene iododonium) or NOX enzymes (GKT136901). Consistent with our previous overexpression studies, we found that H(2)O(2)-induced superoxide production by primary sperm cells was mediated by the non-receptor tyrosine kinase c-Abl. Moreover, the H(V)1 proton channel, which was recently implicated in spermatozoa motility, was required for optimal superoxide production by spermatozoa. Immunoprecipitation experiments suggested an interaction among NOX5, c-Abl, and H(V)1. H(2)O(2) treatment increased the proportion of motile sperm in a NOX5-dependent manner. Statistical analyses showed a pH-dependent correlation between superoxide production and enhanced sperm motility. Collectively, our findings show that NOX5 is a major source of ROS in human spermatozoa and indicate a role for NOX5-dependent ROS generation in human spermatozoa motility.
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