The mechanism of ammonia transport based on the crystal structure of AmtB of Escherichia coli

Zheng, Lei and Kostrewa, Dirk and Bernèche, Simon and Winkler, Fritz K. and Li, Xiao-Dan. (2004) The mechanism of ammonia transport based on the crystal structure of AmtB of Escherichia coli. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 101, No. 49. pp. 17090-17095.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5249312

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Ammonium is one of the most important nitrogen sources for bacteria, fungi, and plants, but it is toxic to animals. The ammonium transport proteins (methylamine permeases/ammonium transporters/rhesus) are present in all domains of life; however, functional studies with members of this family have yielded controversial results with respect to the chemical identity (NH(4)(+) or NH(3)) of the transported species. We have solved the structure of wild-type AmtB from Escherichia coli in two crystal forms at 1.8- and 2.1-A resolution, respectively. Substrate transport occurs through a narrow mainly hydrophobic pore located at the center of each monomer of the trimeric AmtB. At the periplasmic entry, a binding site for NH(4)(+) is observed. Two phenylalanine side chains (F107 and F215) block access into the pore from the periplasmic side. Further into the pore, the side chains of two highly conserved histidine residues (H168 and H318) bridged by a H-bond lie adjacent, with their edges pointing into the cavity. These histidine residues may facilitate the deprotonation of an ammonium ion entering the pore. Adiabatic free energy calculations support the hypothesis that an electrostatic barrier between H168 and H318 hinders the permeation of cations but not that of the uncharged NH(3.) The structural data and energetic considerations strongly indicate that the methylamine permeases/ammonium transporters/rhesus proteins are ammonia gas channels. Interestingly, at the cytoplasmic exit of the pore, two different conformational states are observed that might be related to the inactivation mechanism by its regulatory partner.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Biozentrum > Former Organization Units Biozentrum > Computational Biophysics (Bernèche)
UniBasel Contributors:Bernèche, Simon
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:National Academy of Sciences
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Last Modified:22 Mar 2012 14:19
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 13:16

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