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Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2009 Aug;19(4):425-32. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Jul 22.

Structure and function of Na(+)-symporters with inverted repeats.

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Department of Physiology, David School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1751, USA.


Symporters are membrane proteins that couple energy stored in electrochemical potential gradients to drive the cotransport of molecules and ions into cells. Traditionally, proteins are classified into gene families based on sequence homology and functional properties, for example the sodium glucose (SLC5 or Sodium Solute Symporter Family, SSS or SSF) and GABA (SLC6 or Neurotransmitter Sodium Symporter Family, NSS or SNF) symporter families [1-4]. Recently, it has been established that four Na(+)-symporter proteins with unrelated sequences have a common structural core containing an inverted repeat of 5 transmembrane (TM) helices [5(**)-8(**)]. Analysis of these four structures reveals that they reside in different conformations along the transport cycle providing atomic insight into the mechanism of sodium solute cotransport.

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