Voltage-gated channels operate through the action of a voltage-sensing domain (membrane segments S1-S4) that controls the conformation of gates located in the pore domain (membrane segments S5-S6). Recent structural studies on the bacterial KvAP potassium channel have led to a new model of voltage sensing in which S4 lies in the lipid at the channel periphery and moves through the membrane as a unit with a portion of S3. Here we describe accessibility probing and disulfide scanning experiments aimed at determining how well the KvAP model describes the Drosophila Shaker potassium channel. We find that the S1-S3 helices have one end that is externally exposed, S3 does not undergo a transmembrane motion, and S4 lies in close apposition to the pore domain in the resting and activated state.
Gandhi, C. S., Clark, E., Loots, E., Pralle, A., & Isacoff, E. Y. (2003). The orientation and molecular movement of a K+ channel voltage-sensing domain. Neuron, 40(3), 515–525. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0896-6273(03)00646-9