MSc. Aditi Dubey, Madison Baxter, Kevin J Hendargo, and Drs. Arturo Medrano-Soto and Milton Saier just published a paper in the journal International Journal of Molecular Sciences (IJMS). The Pentameric Ligand-Gated Ion Channel Family: A New Member of the Voltage Gated Ion Channel Superfamily?. For your convenience, this is the link to PubMed.


In this report we present seven lines of bioinformatic evidence supporting the conclusion that the Pentameric Ligand-gated Ion Channel (pLIC) Family is a member of the Voltage-gated Ion Channel (VIC) Superfamily. In our approach, we used the Transporter Classification Database (TCDB) as a reference and applied a series of bioinformatic methods to search for similarities between the pLIC family and members of the VIC superfamily. These include: (1) sequence similarity, (2) compatibility of topology and hydropathy profiles, (3) shared domains, (4) conserved motifs, (5) similarity of Hidden Markov Model profiles between families, (6) common 3D structural folds, and (7) clustering analysis of all families. Furthermore, sequence and structural comparisons as well as the identification of a 3-TMS repeat unit in the VIC superfamily suggests that the sixth transmembrane segment evolved into a re-entrant loop. This evidence suggests that the voltage-sensor domain and the channel domain have a common origin. The classification of the pLIC family within the VIC superfamily sheds light onto the topological origins of this family and its evolution, which will facilitate experimental verification and further research into this superfamily by the scientific community.