A Voltage Sensor-Domain Protein Is a Voltage-Gated Proton Channel

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Voltage-gated proton channels have been widely observed but have not been identified at a molecular level. Here we report that a four-transmembrane protein similar to the voltage-sensor domain of voltage-gated ion channels is a voltage-gated proton channel. Cells overexpressing this protein showed depolarization-induced outward currents accompanied by tail currents. Current reversal occured at equilibrium potentials for protons. The currents exhibited pH-dependent gating and zinc ion sensitivity, two features which are characteristic of voltage-gated proton channels. Responses of voltage dependence to sequence changes suggest that mouse voltage-sensor domain-only protein is itself a channel, rather than a regulator of another channel protein.

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