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Biochemistry. 2007 Mar 6;46(9):2326-32. Epub 2007 Feb 2.

Membrane topology prediction by hydropathy profile alignment: membrane topology of the Na(+)-glutamate transporter GltS.

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  • 1Molecular Microbiology, Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Structural classification of families of membrane proteins by bioinformatics techniques has become a critical aspect of membrane protein research. We have proposed hydropathy profile alignment to identify structural homology between families of membrane proteins. Here, we demonstrate experimentally that two families of secondary transporters, the ESS and 2HCT families, indeed share similar folds. Members of the two families show highly similar hydropathy profiles but cannot be shown to be homologous by sequence similarity. A structural model was predicted for the ESS family transporters based upon an existing model of the 2HCT family transporters. In the model, the transporters fold into two domains containing five transmembrane segments and a reentrant or pore-loop each. The two pore-loops enter the membrane embedded part of the proteins from opposite sides of the membrane. The model was verified by accessibility studies of cysteine residues in single-Cys mutants of the Na+-glutamate transporter GltS of Escherichia coli, a member of the ESS family. Cysteine residues positioned in predicted periplasmic loops were accessible from the periplasm by a bulky, membrane-impermeable thiol reagent, while cysteine residues in cytoplasmic loops were not. Furthermore, two cysteine residues in the predicted pore-loop entering the membrane from the cytoplasmic side were shown to be accessible for small, membrane-impermeable thiol reagents from the periplasm, as was demonstrated before for the Na+-citrate transporter CitS of Klebsiella pneumoniae, a member of the 2HCT family. The data strongly suggests that GltS of the ESS family and CitS of the 2HCT family share the same fold as was predicted by comparing the averaged hydropathy profiles of the two families.

PMID:
17269795
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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