Monitoring the conformational ensemble and lipid environment of a mechanosensitive channel under cyclodextrin-induced membrane tension

Benjamin J. Lane, Yue Ma, Nana Yan, Bolin Wang, Katrin Ackermann, Theodoros K. Karamanos, Bela E. Bode, Christos Pliotas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Membrane forces shift the equilibria of mechanosensitive channels enabling them to convert mechanical cues into electrical signals. Molecular tools to stabilize and methods to capture their highly dynamic states are lacking. Cyclodextrins can mimic tension through the sequestering of lipids from membranes. Here we probe the conformational ensemble of MscS by EPR spectroscopy, the lipid environment with NMR, and function with electrophysiology under cyclodextrin-induced tension. We show the extent of MscS activation depends on the cyclodextrin-to-lipid ratio, and that lipids are depleted slower when MscS is present. This has implications in MscS’ activation kinetics when distinct membrane scaffolds such as nanodiscs or liposomes are used. We find MscS transits from closed to sub-conducting state(s) before it desensitizes, due to the lack of lipid availability in its vicinity required for closure. Our approach allows for monitoring tension-sensitive states in membrane proteins and screening molecules capable of inducing molecular tension in bilayers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalStructure
Early online date22 Mar 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • Cyclodextrin
  • DEER
  • Electrophysiology
  • EPR
  • Lipids
  • Mechanosensitive ion channel
  • Membrane
  • MscS
  • NMR
  • PELDOR

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