The voltage sensor is responsible for ΔpH dependence in Hv1 channels

Emerson M. Carmona, Miguel Fernandez, Juan J. Alvear-Arias, Alan Neely, H. Pete Larsson, Osvaldo Alvarez, Jose Antonio Garate, Ramon Latorre, Carlos Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The dissipation of acute acid loads by the voltage-gated proton channel (Hv1) relies on regulating the channel's open probability by the voltage and the ΔpH across the membrane (ΔpH = pHex- pHin). Using monomeric Ciona-Hv1, we asked whether ΔpHdependent gating is produced during the voltage sensor activation or permeation pathway opening. A leftward shift of the conductance-voltage (G-V) curve was produced at higher ΔpH values in the monomeric channel. Next, we measured the voltage sensor pH dependence in the absence of a functional permeation pathway by recording gating currents in the monomeric nonconducting D160N mutant. Increasing the ΔpH leftward shifted the gating charge-voltage (Q-V) curve, demonstrating that the ΔpHdependent gating in Hv1 arises by modulating its voltage sensor. We fitted our data to a model that explicitly supposes the Hv1 voltage sensor free energy is a function of both the proton chemical and the electrical potential. The parameters obtained showed that around 60% of the free energy stored in the ΔpH is coupled to the Hv1 voltage sensor activation. Our results suggest that the molecular mechanism underlying the Hv1 ΔpH dependence is produced by protons, which alter the free-energy landscape around the voltage sensor domain. We propose that this alteration is produced by accessibility changes of the protons in the Hv1 voltage sensor during activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2025556118
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number19
StatePublished - May 11 2021


  • Coupling
  • Gating currents
  • Hv1
  • PH dependence
  • Voltage sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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