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.
- SourceAvailable from: Massimo Donadelli[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: An ever-increasing number of studies highlight the role of uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2) in a broad range of physiological and pathological processes. The knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of UCP2 regulation is becoming fundamental in both the comprehension of UCP2-related physiological events and the identification of novel therapeutic strategies based on UCP2 modulation. The study of UCP2 regulation is a fast-moving field. Recently, several research groups have made a great effort to thoroughly understand the various molecular mechanisms at the basis of UCP2 regulation. In this review, we describe novel findings concerning events that can occur in a concerted manner at various levels: Ucp2 gene mutation (single nucleotide polymorphisms), UCP2 mRNA and protein expression (transcriptional, translational, and protein turn-over regulation), UCP2 proton conductance (ligands and post-transcriptional modifications), and nutritional and pharmacological regulation of UCP2.Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS 06/2013; · 5.62 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A tight regulation of proton transport in the inner mitochondrial membrane is crucial for physiological processes such as ATP synthesis, heat production, or regulation of the reactive oxygen species as proposed for the uncoupling protein family members (UCP). Specific regulation of proton transport is thus becoming increasingly important in the therapy of obesity and inflammatory, neurodegenerative, and ischemic diseases. We and other research groups have shown previously that UCP1- and UCP2-mediated proton transport is inhibited by purine nucleotides. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the inhibitory effect of ATP, although structural details are still lacking. Moreover, the unresolved mystery is how UCP operates in vivo despite the permanent presence of high (millimolar) concentrations of ATP in mitochondria. Here we use the topographic and recognition (TREC) mode of an atomic force microscope to visualize UCP1 reconstituted into lipid bilayers and to analyze the ATP-protein interaction at a single molecule level. The comparison of recognition patterns obtained with anti-UCP1 antibody and ATP led to the conclusion that the ATP binding site can be accessed from both sides of the membrane. Using cantilever tips with different cross-linker lengths, we determined the location of the nucleotide binding site inside the membrane with 1 Å precision. Together with the recently published NMR structure of a UCP family member ( Berardi et al. Nature, 2011, 476, 109-113 ), our data provide a valuable insight into the mechanism of the nucleotide binding and pave the way for new pharmacological approaches against the diseases mentioned above.Journal of the American Chemical Society 03/2013; 135(9):3640-6. · 10.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial carriers are membrane-embedded proteins consisting of a tripartite structure, a three-fold pseudo-symmetry, related sequences, and similar folding whose main function is to catalyze the transport of various metabolites, nucleotides, and coenzymes across the inner mitochondrial membrane. In this study, the evolutionary rate in vertebrates was screened at each of the approximately 50,000 nucleotides corresponding to the amino acids of the 53 human mitochondrial carriers. Using this information as a starting point, a scoring system was developed to quantify the evolutionary pressure acting on each site of the common mitochondrial carrier structure and estimate its functional or structural relevance. The degree of evolutionary selection varied greatly among all sites, but it was highly similar among the three symmetric positions in the tripartite structure, known as symmetry-related sites or triplets, suggesting that each triplet constitutes an evolutionary unit. Based on evolutionary selection, 111 structural sites (37 triplets) were found to be important. These sites play a key role in structure/function of mitochondrial carriers and are involved in either conformational changes (sites of the gates, proline-glycine levels, and aromatic belts) or in binding and specificity of the transported substrates (sites of the substrate-binding area in between the two gates). Furthermore, the evolutionary pressure analysis revealed that the matrix short helix sites underwent different degrees of selection with high inter-paralog variability. Evidence is presented that these sites form a new sequence motif in a subset of mitochondrial carriers, including the ADP/ATP translocator, and play a regulatory function by interacting with ligands and/or proteins of the mitochondrial matrix.Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS 06/2013; · 5.62 Impact Factor