The Structure of a Sugar Transporter of the Glucose EIIC Superfamily Provides Insight into the Elevator Mechanism of Membrane Transport
Published in Structure 2016 Jun 7;24(6):956-64. PMID: 27161976. PMC4142352. Link to publication page.
Project: Conformational Dynamics of a Glutamate Transporter Homologue. Core Facility: Computational Modeling.
The phosphoenolpyruvate:carbohydrate phosphotransferase systems are found in bacteria, where they play central roles in sugar uptake and regulation of cellular uptake processes. Little is known about how the membrane-embedded components (EIICs) selectively mediate the passage of carbohydrates across the membrane. Here we report the functional characterization and 2.55-Å resolution structure of a maltose transporter, bcMalT, belonging to the glucose superfamily of EIIC transporters. bcMalT crystallized in an outward-facing occluded conformation, in contrast to the structure of another glucose superfamily EIIC, bcChbC, which crystallized in an inward-facing occluded conformation. The structures differ in the position of a structurally conserved substrate-binding domain that is suggested to play a central role in sugar transport. In addition, molecular dynamics simulations suggest a potential pathway for substrate entry from the periplasm into the bcMalT substrate-binding site. These results provide a mechanistic framework for understanding substrate recognition and translocation for the glucose superfamily EIIC transporters.