Diphtheria toxin (DT) forms cation selective channels at low pH in cell membranes and planar bilayers. The channels formed by wild-type full length toxin (DT-AB), wild-type fragment B (DT-B) and mutants of DT-B were studied in the plasma membrane of Vero cells using the patch-clamp technique. The mutations concerned certain negatively charged amino acids within the channel-forming transmembrane domain (T-domain). These residues might interact electrostatically with cations flowing through the channel, and were therefore exchanged for uncharged amino acids or lysine. The increase in whole-cell conductance induced by toxin, Δg m , was initially determined. DT-AB induced a ∼10-fold lower Δg m than DT-B. The mutations DT-B E327Q, DT-B D352N and DT-B E362K did not affect Δg m , whereas DT-B D295K, DT-B D352K and DT-B D318K drastically reduced Δg m . Single channel analysis of DT-B, DT-AB, DT-B D295K, DT-B D318K and DT-B E362K was then performed in outside-out patches. No differences were found for the single-channel conductances, but the mutants varied in their gating characteristics. DT-B D295K exhibited only a very transient channel activity. DT-AB as well as DT-B D318K displayed significantly lower open probability and mean dwell times than DT-B. Hence, the lower channel forming efficiency of DT-AB and DT-B D318K as compared to DT-B is reflected on the molecular level by their tendency to spend more time in the closed position and the fast flickering mode.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 15, 1997
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