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Curr Opin Microbiol. 1998 Apr;1(2):238-47.

Mechanisms of solute transport through outer membrane porins: burning down the house.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Oklahoma, 620 Parrington Oval, Norman, Oklahoma 73019, USA.


Porins mediate the uptake of nutrients across the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. For general porins like OmpF, electrophysicoloigcal experiments now establish that the charged residues within their channels primarily modulate pore selectivity, rather than voltage-gated switching between open and closed states. Recent studies on the maltoporin, LamB, solidify the importance of its 'greasy slide' aromatic residues during sugar transport, and suggest the involvement of L9, in the exterior vestibule, as the initial maltodextrin binding site. The application of biophysical methodologies to the TonB-dependent porin, FepA, ostensibly reveal the opening and closing of its channel during ligand uptake, a phenomenon that was predicted but not previously demonstrated.

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