National Center for
3PF1: E. Coli Fadl Asp348ala Mutant
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. (2011) 108 p.10121-10126
Ligand-gated channels, in which a substrate transport pathway is formed as a result of the binding of a small-molecule chemical messenger, constitute a diverse class of membrane proteins with important functions in prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. Despite their widespread nature, no ligand-gated channels have yet been found within the outer membrane (OM) of Gram-negative bacteria. Here we show, using in vivo transport assays, intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence and X-ray crystallography, that high-affinity (submicromolar) substrate binding to the OM long-chain fatty acid transporter FadL from Escherichia coli causes conformational changes in the N terminus that open up a channel for substrate diffusion. The OM long-chain fatty acid transporter FadL from E. coli is a unique paradigm for OM diffusion-driven transport, in which ligand gating within a beta-barrel membrane protein is a prerequisite for channel formation.