Sodium/proton antiporters maintain intracellular pH and sodium levels. Detailed structures of antiporters with bound substrate ions are essential for understanding how they work. We have resolved the substrate ion in the dimeric, electroneutral sodium/proton antiporter PaNhaP from Pyrococcus abyssi at 3.2 Å, and have determined its structure in two different conformations at pH8 and pH4. The ion is coordinated by three acidic sidechains, a water molecule, a serine and a main-chain carbonyl in the unwound stretch of trans-membrane helix 5 at the deepest point of a negatively charged cytoplasmic funnel. A second narrow polar channel may facilitate proton uptake from the cytoplasm. Transport activity of PaNhaP is cooperative at pH6 but not at pH5. Cooperativity is due to pH-dependent allosteric coupling of protomers through two histidines at the dimer interface. Combined with comprehensive transport studies, the structures of PaNhaP offer unique new insights into the transport mechanism of sodium/proton antiporters.
- Richard Aldrich, The University of Texas at Austin, United States
© 2014, Wöhlert et al.
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