Combined computational and biochemical study reveals the importance of electrostatic interactions between the “pH sensor” and the cation binding site of the sodium/proton antiporter NhaA of Escherichia coli
ABSTRACT Sodium proton antiporters are essential enzymes that catalyze the exchange of sodium ions for protons across biological membranes. The crystal structure of NhaA has provided a basis to explore the mechanism of ion exchange and its unique regulation by pH. Here, the mechanism of the pH activation of the antiporter is investigated through functional and computational studies of several variants with mutations in the ion-binding site (D163, D164). The most significant difference found computationally between the wild type antiporter and the active site variants, D163E and D164N, are low pK(a) values of Glu78 making them insensitive to pH. Although in the variant D163N the pK(a) of Glu78 is comparable to the physiological one, this variant cannot demonstrate the long-range electrostatic effect of Glu78 on the pH-dependent structural reorganization of trans-membrane helix X and, hence, is proposed to be inactive. In marked contrast, variant D164E remains sensitive to pH and can be activated by alkaline pH shift. Remarkably, as expected computationally and discovered here biochemically, D164E is viable and active in Na(+)/H(+) exchange albeit with increased apparent K(M). Our results unravel the unique electrostatic network of NhaA that connect the coupled clusters of the "pH sensor" with the binding site, which is crucial for pH activation of NhaA.
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ABSTRACT: Protons dictate the charge and structure of macromolecules and are used as energy currency by eukaryotic cells. The unique function of individual organelles therefore depends on the establishment and stringent maintenance of a distinct pH. This, in turn, requires a means to sense the prevailing pH and to respond to deviations from the norm with effective mechanisms to transport, produce or consume proton equivalents. A dynamic, finely tuned balance between proton-extruding and proton-importing processes underlies pH homeostasis not only in the cytosol, but in other cellular compartments as well.Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 12/2009; 11(1):50-61. DOI:10.1038/nrm2820 · 36.46 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Human NHA2 is a poorly characterized Na(+)/H(+) antiporter recently implicated in essential hypertension. We used a range of computational tools and evolutionary conservation analysis to build and validate a three-dimensional model of NHA2 based on the crystal structure of a distantly related bacterial transporter, NhaA. The model guided mutagenic evaluation of transport function, ion selectivity, and pH dependence of NHA2 by phenotype screening in yeast. We describe a cluster of essential, highly conserved titratable residues located in an assembly region made of two discontinuous helices of inverted topology, each interrupted by an extended chain. Whereas in NhaA, oppositely charged residues compensate for partial dipoles generated within this assembly, in NHA2, polar but uncharged residues suffice. Our findings led to a model for transport mechanism that was compared to the well-known electroneutral NHE1 and electrogenic NhaA subtypes. This study establishes NHA2 as a prototype for the poorly understood, yet ubiquitous, CPA2 antiporter family recently recognized in plants and metazoans and illustrates a structure-driven approach to derive functional information on a newly discovered transporter.Journal of Molecular Biology 03/2010; 396(5):1181-96. DOI:10.1016/j.jmb.2009.12.055 · 3.96 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Sodium proton antiporters are ubiquitous membrane proteins that catalyze the exchange of Na(+) for protons throughout the biological world. The Escherichia coli NhaA is the archetypal Na(+)/H(+) antiporter and is absolutely essential for survival in high salt concentrations under alkaline conditions. Its crystal structure, accompanied by extensive molecular dynamics simulations, have provided an atomically detailed model of its mechanism. In this study, we utilized a combination of computational methodologies in order to construct a structural model for the Na(+)/H(+) antiporter from the gram-negative bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus. We explored its overall architecture by computational means and validated its stability and robustness. This protein belongs to a novel group of NhaA proteins that transports not only Na(+) and Li(+) as substrate ions, but K(+) as well, and was also found to miss a β-hairpin segment prevalent in other homologs of the Bacteria domain. We propose, for the first time, a structure of a prototype model of a β-hairpin-less NhaA that is selective to K(+). Better understanding of the Vibrio parahaemolyticus NhaA structure-function may assist in studies on ion transport, pH regulation and designing selective blockers.Journal of Molecular Modeling 11/2010; 17(8):1877-90. DOI:10.1007/s00894-010-0883-5 · 1.87 Impact Factor