Gating charge displacement in a monomeric voltage-gated proton (Hv1) channel

Emerson M. Carmona, H. Peter Larsson, Alan Neely, Osvaldo Alvarez, Ramon Latorre, Carlos Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The voltage-gated proton (Hv1) channel, a voltage sensor and a conductive pore contained in one structural module, plays important roles in many physiological processes. Voltage sensor movements can be directly detected by measuring gating currents, and a detailed characterization of Hv1 charge displacements during channel activation can help to understand the function of this channel. We succeeded in detecting gating currents in the monomeric form of the Ciona-Hv1 channel. To decrease proton currents and better separate gating currents from ion currents, we used the low-conducting Hv1 mutant N264R. Isolated ON-gating currents decayed at increasing rates with increasing membrane depolarization, and the amount of gating charges displaced saturates at high voltages. These are two hallmarks of currents arising from the movement of charged elements within the boundaries of the cell membrane. The kinetic analysis of gating currents revealed a complex time course of the ON-gating current characterized by two peaks and a marked Cole–Moore effect. Both features argue that the voltage sensor undergoes several voltage-dependent conformational changes during activation. However, most of the charge is displaced in a single central transition. Upon voltage sensor activation, the charge is trapped, and only a fast component that carries a small percentage of the total charge is observed in the OFF. We hypothesize that trapping is due to the presence of the arginine side chain in position 264, which acts as a blocking ion. We conclude that the movement of the voltage sensor must proceed through at least five states to account for our experimental data satisfactorily.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9240-9245
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 11 2018


  • Gating currents
  • Hv1 proton channel
  • Kinetic model
  • Trapping
  • Voltage sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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