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J Chem Biol. 2012 Jul 15;5(4):131-6. doi: 10.1007/s12154-012-0078-x. Print 2012 Oct.

Outside of the box: recent news about phospholipid translocation by P4 ATPases.

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Department of Biology, Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002 USA.


The P4 subfamily of P-type ATPases includes phospholipid transporters. Moving such bulky amphipathic substrate molecules across the membrane poses unique mechanistic problems. Recently, three papers from three different laboratories have offered insights into some of these problems. One effect of these experiments will be to ignite a healthy debate about the path through the enzyme taken by the substrate. A second effect is to suggest a counterintuitive model for the critical substrate-binding site. By putting concrete hypotheses into play, these papers finally provide a foundation for investigations of mechanism for these proteins.


ATPase reaction cycle; P4 ATPase; Phospholipid transport

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