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J Biol Chem. 2004 Oct 1;279(40):41858-65. Epub 2004 Jul 21.

Monitoring conformational rearrangements in the substrate-binding site of a membrane transport protein by mass spectrometry.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Physiology and Microbiology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Combined biochemical, biophysical, and crystallographic studies on the lactose permease of Escherichia coli suggest that Arg-144 (helix V) forms a salt bridge with Glu-126 (helix IV), which is broken during substrate binding, thereby permitting the guanidino group to form a bidentate H-bond with the C-4 and C-3 O atoms of the galactopyranosyl moiety and an H-bond with Glu-269 (helix VIII). To examine the relative interaction of Arg-144 with these two potential salt bridge partners (Glu-126 and Glu-269) in the absence of substrate, the covalent modification of the guanidino group was monitored with the Arg-specific reagent butane-2,3-dione using electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. In a functional background, the reactivity of Arg-144 with butane-2,3-dione is low ( approximately 25%) and is reduced by a factor of approximately 2 by preincubation with ligand. Interestingly, although replacement of Glu-126 with Ala results in a 3-fold increase in the reactivity of Arg-144, replacement of Glu-269 with Ala elicits virtually no effect. Taken together, these results suggest that in the absence of substrate the interaction between Arg-144 and Glu-126 is much stronger than the interaction with Glu-269, supporting the contention that sugar recognition leads to rearrangement of charge-paired residues essential for sugar binding.

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