The effects of site-directed mutations in NB, a protein encoded by the influenza B virus that has been shown to form cation-selective ion channels at pH 6.0, were studied on ion channel characteristics in artificial lipid bilayers. It was thought that the residues in the hydrophobic region of NB we selected for mutation might be involved in the transport of cations across the channel and that changes in these residues might affect channel properties such as gating and ion-selectivity. Serine residues at positions 20 and 28, threonine at position 24 and cysteine at position 26 were replaced by alanine. We found that the mutation S20A gave channels that did not gate and that remained open most of the time. Proton permeability of NB channels, as detected by fluorescence quenching, was also altered by the mutation S20A: channels were no longer proton-permeable. The other mutations, S28A, T24A and C26A, did not have any detectable effect on the activity or proton permeability of channels formed by NB. The results indicate that serine 20 may have an important role in normal function of NB channels.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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