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Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2014 Nov;21(11):990-6. doi: 10.1038/nsmb.2904. Epub 2014 Oct 19.

Crystal structure of a SLC11 (NRAMP) transporter reveals the basis for transition-metal ion transport.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
1] Structural Biology Research Center, Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie (VIB), Brussels, Belgium. [2] Structural Biology Brussels, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium.


Members of the SLC11 (NRAMP) family transport iron and other transition-metal ions across cellular membranes. These membrane proteins are present in all kingdoms of life with a high degree of sequence conservation. To gain insight into the determinants of ion selectivity, we have determined the crystal structure of Staphylococcus capitis DMT (ScaDMT), a close prokaryotic homolog of the family. ScaDMT shows a familiar architecture that was previously identified in the amino acid permease LeuT. The protein adopts an inward-facing conformation with a substrate-binding site located in the center of the transporter. This site is composed of conserved residues, which coordinate Mn2+, Fe2+ and Cd2+ but not Ca2+. Mutations of interacting residues affect ion binding and transport in both ScaDMT and human DMT1. Our study thus reveals a conserved mechanism for transition-metal ion selectivity within the SLC11 family.

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