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2012 - Investigation of the sodium-binding sites in the sodium-coupled betaine transporter BetP

Icon N1  SURFE²R-technology (custom-built system) publication in PNAS (2012)

Authors:
Khafizov K., Perez C., Koshy C., Quick M., Fendler K., Ziegler C., Forrest L.R.

Journal:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2012) 109(44):E3035-3044


Abstract:

Sodium-coupled substrate transport plays a central role in many biological processes. However, despite knowledge of the structures of several sodium-coupled transporters, the location of the sodium-binding site(s) often remains unclear. Several of these structures have the five transmembrane-helix inverted-topology repeat, LeuT-like (FIRL) fold, whose pseudosymmetry has been proposed to facilitate the alternating-access mechanism required for transport. Here, we provide biophysical, biochemical, and computational evidence for the location of the two cation-binding sites in the sodium-coupled betaine symporter BetP. A recent X-ray structure of BetP in a sodium-bound closed state revealed that one of these sites, equivalent to the Na2 site in related transporters, is located between transmembrane helices 1 and 8 of the FIRL-fold; here, we confirm the location of this site by other means. Based on the pseudosymmetry of this fold, we hypothesized that the second site is located between the equivalent helices 6 and 3. Molecular dynamics simulations of the closed-state structure suggest this second sodium site involves two threonine sidechains and a backbone carbonyl from helix 3, a phenylalanine from helix 6, and a water molecule. Mutating the residues proposed to form the two binding sites increased the apparent Km and Kd for sodium, as measured by betaine uptake, tryptophan fluorescence, and 22Na+ binding, and also diminished the transient currents measured in proteoliposomes using solid supported membrane-based electrophysiology. Taken together, these results provide strong evidence for the identity of the residues forming the sodium-binding sites in BetP.


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