Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Deciphering the mechanism of an ion pump

19.12.2011
Insights obtained from a structural and functional analysis of an ion-pumping protein could benefit future drug discovery efforts

From an analysis of the sodium-transporting vacuolar ATPases (V-ATPases) of the bacterium Enterococcus hirae, Takeshi Murata of the RIKEN Systems and Structural Biology Center, Yokohama, and colleagues recently obtained valuable structural and functional information about a process that pumps protons and other positively charged ions across cellular membranes1.


Figure 1: The crystal structure of the E. hirae V-ATPase with molecules of DCCD (green spheres) bound to E139 at each individual subunit.
Copyright : 2011 Takeshi Murata

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the primary energy ‘currency’ within cells, and numerous enzymes are powered by the metabolic processing of this molecule via a mechanism known as hydrolysis. V-ATPases can exploit this process to pump positively charged ions across cellular membranes. This process occurs at the junction between a rotating ‘K’ domain and a fixed ‘a’ domain within the segment of the protein that resides at the cell membrane, although the specifics remain unclear.

N,N’-dicyclohexylcarbodiimide (DCCD), a chemical that selectively reacts with a specific glutamate amino acid (E139) within the sodium-binding pockets of the K ring, proved valuable in assessing this protein’s function. The researchers demonstrated that DCCD inhibited sodium binding by nearly 30-fold, but that this inhibition was sharply reduced when the enzyme was pretreated with sodium ions, suggesting that the two molecules interact with overlapping targets within the ring.

The K ring is composed of ten identical subunits, and DCCD efficiently reacts with E139 in each of these individual components (Fig. 1). By gathering structural data from the DCCD-treated V-ATPase, Murata and colleagues obtained a snapshot of what the protein looks like in the absence of sodium, which they could in turn compare against the structure of the sodium-bound form.

Although the two structures were largely similar, DCCD treatment triggered a change in E139 that locked the sodium binding sites into an ‘open’ structure that prevented ion retention. The negative charge of E139 made an important contribution to the binding of the positively charged Na+ ion; DCCD appeared to work by neutralizing this charge. The researchers hypothesize that a similar process governs ion release during the transport process; as the K domain rotates, each subunit’s E139 interacts with a positively charged amino acid on the domain, triggering ion release and transfer across the membrane.

Confirming this model will require additional structural data. “We would like to obtain the structure of [the] whole complex containing both the rotor ring and a-subunit,” Murata says. Nevertheless, these findings could prove immediately applicable to the development of more effective ATPase inhibitors, a class of drugs potentially useful for treating cancer and other diseases. “V-ATPases are of considerable pharmacological interest,” says Murata.

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the Systems and Structural Biology Team, RIKEN Systems and Structural Biology Center

gro-pr | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.riken.jp
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Seeing on the Quick: New Insights into Active Vision in the Brain
15.08.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht New Approach to Treating Chronic Itch
15.08.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Molecular switch detects metals in the environment

15.08.2018 | Materials Sciences

Seeing on the Quick: New Insights into Active Vision in the Brain

15.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>