Binding of ADP in the mitochondrial ADP/ATP carrier is driven by an electrostatic funnel.
ABSTRACT The ADP/ATP carrier (AAC) is a membrane protein of paramount importance for the energy-fueling function of the mitochondria, transporting ADP from the intermembrane space to the matrix and ATP in the opposite direction. On the basis of the high-resolution, 2.2-A structure of the bovine carrier, a total of 0.53 micros of classical molecular dynamics simulations were conducted in a realistic membrane environment to decipher the early events of ADP (3-) translocation across the inner membrane of the mitochondria. Examination of apo-AAC underscores the impermeable nature of the carrier, impeding passive transport of permeants toward the matrix. The electrostatic funnel illuminated from three-dimensional mapping of the electrostatic potential forms a privileged passageway anticipated to drive the diphosphate nucleotide rapidly toward the bottom of the internal cavity. This conjecture is verified in the light of repeated, independent numerical experiments, whereby the permeant is dropped near the mouth of the mitochondrial carrier. Systematic association of ADP (3-) to the crevice of the AAC, an early event in its transport across the inner membrane, is accompanied by the formation of an intricate network of noncovalent bonds. Simulations relying on the use of an adaptive biasing force reveal for the first time that the proposed binding site corresponds to a minimum of the free energy landscape delineating the translocation of ADP (3-) in the carrier. The present work paves the way to the design of novel nucleotides and new experiments aimed at unveiling key structural features in the chronology of ADP/ATP transport across the mitochondrial membrane.
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ABSTRACT: Abstract The mitochondrial ADP/ATP carrier imports ADP from the cytosol into the mitochondrial matrix for its conversion to ATP by ATP synthase and exports ATP out of the mitochondrion to replenish the eukaryotic cell with chemical energy. Here the substrate specificity of the human mitochondrial ADP/ATP carrier AAC1 was determined by two different approaches. In the first the protein was functionally expressed in Escherichia coli membranes as a fusion protein with maltose binding protein and the effect of excess of unlabeled compounds on the uptake of [(32)P]-ATP was measured. In the second approach the protein was expressed in the cytoplasmic membrane of Lactococcus lactis. The uptake of [(14)C]-ADP in whole cells was measured in the presence of excess of unlabeled compounds and in fused membrane vesicles loaded with unlabeled compounds to demonstrate their transport. A large number of nucleotides were tested, but only ADP and ATP are suitable substrates for human AAC1, demonstrating a very narrow specificity. Next we tried to understand the molecular basis of this specificity by carrying out molecular-dynamics simulations with selected nucleotides, which were placed at the entrance of the central cavity. The binding of the phosphate groups of guanine and adenine nucleotides is similar, yet there is a low probability for the base moiety to be bound, likely to be rooted in the greater polarity of guanine compared to adenine. AMP is unlikely to engage fully with all contact points of the substrate binding site, suggesting that it cannot trigger translocation.Molecular Membrane Biology 11/2012; · 3.13 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The mitochondrial ADP/ATP carrier imports ADP from the cytosol and exports ATP from the mitochondrial matrix. The carrier cycles by an unresolved mechanism between the cytoplasmic state, in which the carrier accepts ADP from the cytoplasm, and the matrix state, in which it accepts ATP from the mitochondrial matrix. Here we present the structures of the yeast ADP/ATP carriers Aac2p and Aac3p in the cytoplasmic state. The carriers have three domains and are closed at the matrix side by three interdomain salt-bridge interactions, one of which is braced by a glutamine residue. Glutamine braces are conserved in mitochondrial carriers and contribute to an energy barrier, preventing the conversion to the matrix state unless substrate binding occurs. At the cytoplasmic side a second salt-bridge network forms during the transport cycle, as demonstrated by functional analysis of mutants with charge-reversed networks. Analyses of the domain structures and properties of the interdomain interfaces indicate that interconversion between states involves movement of the even-numbered α-helices across the surfaces of the odd-numbered α-helices by rotation of the domains. The odd-numbered α-helices have an L-shape, with proline or serine residues at the kinks, which functions as a lever-arm, coupling the substrate-induced disruption of the matrix network to the formation of the cytoplasmic network. The simultaneous movement of three domains around a central translocation pathway constitutes a unique mechanism among transport proteins. These findings provide a structural description of transport by mitochondrial carrier proteins, consistent with an alternating-access mechanism.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 01/2014; 111(4):E426-34. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background : The SMO receptor, one of Class F GPCRs, is an essential component of the canonical hedgehog signaling pathway which plays a key role in the regulation of embryonic development in animals. The function of the SMO receptor can be modulated by small-molecule agonists and antagonists, some of which are potential antitumour agents. Understanding the binding mode of antagonist in SMO receptor is crucial for rational design of new antitumour agents. Methods : Molecular dynamics (MD) simulation and dynamical network analysis are used to study the dynamical structural features of SMO receptor. Metadynamics simulation and free energy calculation are employed to explore the binding mechanism between the antagonist and SMO receptor. Results : The MD simulation results and dynamical network analysis show that the conserved KTXXXW motif in helix VIII has strong interaction with helix I. The α-helical extension of TM6 is detected as part of the ligand-binding pocket and dissociation pathway of antagonist. The metadynamics simulation results illustrate the binding mechanism of antagonist in the pocket of SMO receptor, and free energy calculation shows the antagonist needs to overcome about 38 kcal/mol energy barrier to leave binding pocket of SMO receptor. Conclusions : The unusually long TM6 plays an important role on the binding behavior of antagonist in the pocket of SMO receptor. General Significance : The results can not only profile the binding mechanism between the antagonist and Class F GPCRs, but also supply the useful information for the rational design of more potential small molecule antagonist bound to SMO receptor.Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - General Subjects 01/2014; · 3.85 Impact Factor