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CLC Cl- channels are homodimers in which each subunit has a proper pore and a (fast) gate. An additional slow gate acts on both pores. A conserved glutamate (E166 in CLC-0) is a major determinant of gating in CLC-0 and is crucially involved in Cl-/H+ antiport of CLC-ec1, a CLC of known structure. We constructed tandem dimers with one wild-type (WT) and one mutant subunit (E166A or E166D) to show that these mutations of E166 specifically alter the fast gate of the pore to which they belong without effect on the fast gate of the neighboring pore. In addition both mutations activate the common slow gate. E166A pores have a large, voltage-independent open probability of the fast gate (popen), whereas popen of E166D pores is dramatically reduced. Similar to WT, popen of E166D was increased by lowering pHint. At negative voltages, E166D presents a persistent inward current that is blocked by p-chlorophenoxy-acetic acid (CPA) and increased at low pHext. The pHext dependence of the persistent current is analogous to a similar steady inward current in WT CLC-0. Surprisingly, however, the underlying unitary conductance of the persistent current in E166D is about an order of magnitude smaller than that of the transient deactivating inward Cl- current. Collectively, our data support the possibility that the mutated CLC-0 channel E166D can assume two distinct open states. Voltage-independent protonation of D166 from the outside favors a low conductance state, whereas protonation from the inside favors the high conductance state.

Original publication




Journal article


J Gen Physiol

Publication Date





51 - 65


Animals, Aspartic Acid, Chloride Channels, Electric Conductivity, Female, Glutamic Acid, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Ion Channel Gating, Mathematics, Mutation, Oocytes, Patch-Clamp Techniques, Protons, Torpedo, Voltage-Dependent Anion Channels, Xenopus laevis