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Biochemistry. 2006 Oct 17;45(41):12539-46.

Characterization of the LSGGQ and H motifs from the Escherichia coli lipid A transporter MsbA.

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Department of Biophysics, Medical College of Wisconsin, 8701 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53226, USA.


ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters make up one of the largest superfamilies of proteins known and have been shown to transport substrates ranging from lipids and antibiotics to sugars and amino acids. The dysfunction of ABC transporters has been linked to human pathologies such as cystic fibrosis, hyperinsulinemia, and macular dystrophy. Several bacterial ABC transporters are also necessary for bacterial survival and transport of virulence factors in an infected host. MsbA is a 65 kDa protein that forms a functional homodimer consisting of two six-helix transmembrane domains and two approximately 250 amino acid nucleotide-binding domains (NBD). The NBDs contain several conserved regions such as the Walker A, LSGGQ, and H motif that bind directly to ATP and align it for hydrolysis. MsbA transports lipid A, its native substrate, across the inner membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. The loss or dysfunction of MsbA results in a toxic accumulation of lipid A inside the cell, leading to cell-membrane instability and cell death. Using site-directed spin labeling electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, conserved motifs within the MsbA NBD have been evaluated for structure and dynamics upon substrate binding. It has been determined that the LSGGQ NBD consensus sequence is consistent with an alpha-helical conformation and that these residues maintain extensive tertiary contacts throughout hydrolysis. The dynamics of the LSGGQ and the H-motif region have been studied in the presence of ATP, ADP, and ATP plus vanadate to identify the residues that are directly affected by interactions with the substrate before, after, and during hydrolysis, respectively.

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