Intrinsically disordered C-terminal segments of voltage-activated potassium channels: A possible fishing rod-like mechanism for channel binding to scaffold proteins Academic Article uri icon


  • Membrane-embedded voltage-activated potassium channels (Kv) bind intracellular scaffold proteins, such as the Post Synaptic Density 95 (PSD-95) protein, using a conserved PDZ-binding motif located at the channels' C-terminal tip. This interaction underlies Kv-channel clustering, and is important for the proper assembly and functioning of the synapse. Here we demonstrate that the C-terminal segments of Kv channels adjacent to the PDZ-binding motif are intrinsically disordered. Phylogenetic analysis of the Kv channel family reveals a cluster of channel sequences belonging to three out of the four main channel families, for which an association is demonstrated between the presence of the consensus terminal PDZ-binding motif and the intrinsically disordered nature of the immediately adjacent C-terminal segment. Our observations, combined with a structural analogy to the N-terminal intra-molecular ball-and-chain mechanism for Kv channel inactivation, suggest that the C-terminal disordered segments of these channel families encode an inter-molecular fishing rod-like mechanism for K(+) channel binding to scaffold proteins.

publication date

  • January 1, 2006