That channels and transporters can influence the membrane morphology is increasingly recognized. Less appreciated is that the extent and free-energy cost of these deformations likely varies among different functional states of a protein, and thus, that they might contribute significantly to defining its mechanism. We consider the trimeric Na+-aspartate symporter GltPh, a homolog of an important class of neurotransmitter transporters, whose mechanism entails one of the most drastic structural changes known. Molecular simulations indicate that when the protomers become inward-facing, they cause deep, long-ranged, and yet mutually-independent membrane deformations. Using a novel simulation methodology, we estimate that the free-energy cost of this membrane perturbation is in the order of 6-7 kcal/mol per protomer. Compensating free-energy contributions within the protein or its environment must thus stabilize this inward-facing conformation for the transporter to function. We discuss these striking results in the context of existing experimental observations for this and other transporters.
Input and output files for 1 (out of 3) replica of each simulation system/condition in our study have been uploaded to Zenodo, a public repository free of charge, and is available at the DOI 10.5281/zenodo.3558957.
Simulation files for "Large-scale state-dependent membrane remodeling by a transporter protein"Zenodo, doi:10.5281/zenodo.3558957.
- Wenchang Zhou
- Giacomo Fiorin
- Claudio Anselmi
- José D Faraldo-Gómez
- Hossein Ali Karimi-Varzaneh
- Horacio Poblete
- Lucy Forrest
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Nir Ben-Tal, Tel Aviv University, Israel
This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
In eukaryotic cells, stressors reprogram the cellular proteome by activating the integrated stress response (ISR). In its canonical form, stress-sensing kinases phosphorylate the eukaryotic translation initiation factor eIF2 (eIF2-P), which ultimately leads to reduced levels of ternary complex required for initiation of mRNA translation. Previously we showed that translational control is primarily exerted through a conformational switch in eIF2’s nucleotide exchange factor, eIF2B, which shifts from its active A-State conformation to its inhibited I-State conformation upon eIF2-P binding, resulting in reduced nucleotide exchange on eIF2 (Schoof et al. 2021). Here, we show functionally and structurally how a single histidine to aspartate point mutation in eIF2B’s β subunit (H160D) mimics the effects of eIF2-P binding by promoting an I-State like conformation, resulting in eIF2-P independent activation of the ISR. These findings corroborate our previously proposed A/I-State model of allosteric ISR regulation.
Structures of the human lysosomal K+ channel transmembrane protein 175 (TMEM175) in open and closed states revealed a novel architecture lacking the canonical K+ selectivity filter motif present in previously known K+ channel structures. A hydrophobic constriction composed of four isoleucine residues was resolved in the pore and proposed to serve as the gate in the closed state, and to confer ion selectivity in the open state. Here, we achieve higher-resolution structures of the open and closed states and employ molecular dynamics simulations to analyze the conducting properties of the putative open state, demonstrating that it is permeable to K+ and, to a lesser degree, also Na+. Both cations must dehydrate significantly to penetrate the narrow hydrophobic constriction, but ion flow is assisted by a favorable electrostatic field generated by the protein that spans the length of the pore. The balance of these opposing energetic factors explains why permeation is feasible, and why TMEM175 is selective for K+ over Na+, despite the absence of the canonical selectivity filter. Accordingly, mutagenesis experiments reveal an exquisite sensitivity of the channel to perturbations that mitigate the constriction. Together, these data reveal a novel mechanism for selective permeation of ions by TMEM175 that is unlike that of other K+ channels.