1. Biochemistry and Chemical Biology
  2. Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics
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Structure of a bacterial ATP synthase

  1. Hui Guo
  2. Toshiharu Suzuki
  3. John L Rubinstein  Is a corresponding author
  1. The Hospital for Sick Children, Canada
  2. Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan
Research Article
  • Cited 56
  • Views 19,548
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Cite this article as: eLife 2019;8:e43128 doi: 10.7554/eLife.43128


ATP synthases produce ATP from ADP and inorganic phosphate with energy from a transmembrane proton motive force. Bacterial ATP synthases have been studied extensively because they are the simplest form of the enzyme and because of the relative ease of genetic manipulation of these complexes. We expressed the Bacillus PS3 ATP synthase in Eschericia coli, purified it, and imaged it by cryo-EM, allowing us to build atomic models of the complex in three rotational states. The position of subunit e shows how it is able to inhibit ATP hydrolysis while allowing ATP synthesis. The architecture of the membrane region shows how the simple bacterial ATP synthase is able to perform the same core functions as the equivalent, but more complicated, mitochondrial complex. The structures reveal the path of transmembrane proton translocation and provide a model for understanding decades of biochemical analysis interrogating the roles of specific residues in the enzyme.

Data availability

CryoEM maps have been deposited in EMDB and atomic models in PDB.

The following data sets were generated
    1. Guo H
    2. Rubinstein JL
    (2018) Intact class 1
    Electron Microscopy Data Bank, EMD-9333.
    1. Guo H
    2. Rubinstein JL
    (2018) Intact class 2
    Electron Microscopy Data Bank, EMD-9334.
    1. Guo H
    2. Rubinstein JL
    (2018) Intact class 3
    Electron Microscopy Data Bank, EMD-9335.
    1. Guo H
    2. Rubinstein JL
    (2018) Focused Fo
    Electron Microscopy Data Bank, EMD-9327.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Hui Guo

    Molecular Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Toshiharu Suzuki

    Laboratory for Chemistry and Life Science, Institute of Innovative Research, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. John L Rubinstein

    Molecular Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-0566-2209


Canadian Institutes of Health Research (MOP 81294)

  • John L Rubinstein

Canada Research Chairs

  • John L Rubinstein

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JP18H02409)

  • Toshiharu Suzuki

Canada Foundation for Innovation

  • John L Rubinstein

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Richard M Berry, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Publication history

  1. Received: October 26, 2018
  2. Accepted: February 2, 2019
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: February 6, 2019 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: February 15, 2019 (version 2)


© 2019, Guo et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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