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Crystal structure of the sodium-proton antiporter NhaA dimer and new mechanistic insights

Crystal structure of the sodium-proton antiporter NhaA dimer and new mechanistic insights

A new crystal structure of the Escherichia coli NhaA dimer reveals a previously unidentified salt bridge between two highly conserved residues at the putative binding site. The combination of structural data with molecular dynamics simulations yields new insights into the transport mechanism.

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Flexible Gates Generate Occluded Intermediates in the Transport Cycle of LacY

Flexible Gates Generate Occluded Intermediates in the Transport Cycle of LacY

We show that one of the best-studied secondary active transporters, the lactose permease LacY, goes through an occluded conformation during its transport cycle. We propose an atomically detailed model of the apo-occluded state. The simulations predict the formation of a transient salt bridge that has been hypothesized in the canonical model for transport of LacY. The simulations are validated by comparison to experimental EPR DEER data, using a new approach to simulate spin-label distance distributions through post-processing of molecular dynamics trajectories. We also define a set of order parameters that consistently classify all known MFS transporter structures as outward-open, occluded, or inward-open conformations.

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A two-domain elevator mechanism for sodium/proton antiport

A two-domain elevator mechanism for sodium/proton antiport

In a combined X-ray crystallography/biochemistry/molecular simulation study published in Nature we present the structure of the sodium/proton antiporter NapA in its outward facing conformation. Together with the inward facing conformation of the related transporter NhaA we can now understand the conformational changes required for the sodium/proton antiport mechanism.

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The alternating access mechanism in Mhp1

The alternating access mechanism in Mhp1

Secondary transporters couple the free energy stored in an ionic gradient to the movement of solutes across the cell membrane. The coupling enables these transmembrane proteins to transport small molecules against their own concentration gradients. The transporters function by cycling between different conformational states in which access to the central binding site is switched from the extracellular solution to the intracellular compartment. Using experimental and computational approaches we could visualize for the first time how this process occurs for a secondary transporter.

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