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Bioessays. 1992 Nov;14(11):757-62.

The molecular and cell biology of anion transport by bacteria.

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Department of Physiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205.


This article summarizes the study of anion exchange mechanisms in bacteria. Along with defining at least two different families of anion exchange, an examination of such carrier-mediated antiport reactions has led to techniques that considerably broaden the scope of biochemical methods for examining membrane proteins. Such advances have been exploited to show that anion exchange itself forms the mechanistic base of an entirely new kind of proton pump, one which may shed light on a variety of bacterial events, including methanogenesis. Perhaps most important, the study of exchange provided the final link in a chain of evidence pointing to a structural 'rhythm' that seems to characterize membrane carriers. These three issues--a biochemical tool, a new proton pump, and a common structural rhythm--are briefly examined in the context of their origins in the analysis of bacterial anion exchange.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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