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Tidal Surge in the M2 Proton Channel, Sensed by 2D IR Spectroscopy

Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Last Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
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Researchers have shown that 2D spectroscopy uniquely reveals different structural properties of conformers of the M2 proton channel at ambient temperature.

The M2 proton channel from influenza A virus transmits protons across membranes via a narrow aqueous pore lined by water and a proton sensor, His37. Near the center of the membrane, a water cluster is stabilized by the carbonyl of Gly34 and His37, the properties of which are modulated by protonation of His37. At low pH (5-6), where M2 conducts protons, this region undergoes exchange processes on the microsecond to second timescale. Here, we use 2D IR to examine the instantaneous conformational distribution and hydration of G34, and the evolution of the ensemble on the femtosecond to picosecond timescale. The channel water is strongly pH dependent as gauged by 2D IR which allows recording of the vibrational frequency autocorrelation function of a (13)C = (18)O Gly34 probe. At pH 8, where entry and exit of protons within the channel are very slow, the carbonyl groups appear to adopt a single conformation/environment. The high-pH conformer does not exhibit spectral dynamics near the Gly34, and water in the channel must form a relatively rigid ice-like structure. By contrast, two vibrational forms of G34 are seen at pH 6.2, neither of which is identical to the high-pH form. In at least one of these low-pH forms, the probe is immersed in a very mobile, bulk-like aqueous environment having a correlation time ca. 1.3 ps at pH 6.2. Thus, protonation of His37 at low pH causes liquid-like water molecules to flow into the neighborhood of the Gly34

The article is published online in PNAS and is free to access. 

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