Protonation of glutamate 208 induces the release of agmatine in an outward-facing conformation of an arginine/agmatine antiporter
By Elia Zomot and Ivet Bahar
Published in The Journal of biological chemistry 286(22): 19693-701 on June 3, 2011.
PMID: 21487006. PMCID: PMC3103348. Link to Pubmed page.
Core Facility: Computational Modeling
Virulent enteric pathogens have developed several systems that maintain intracellular pH to survive extreme acidic conditions. One such mechanism is the exchange of arginine (Arg(+)) from the extracellular region with its intracellular decarboxylated form, agmatine (Agm(2+)). The net result of this process is the export of a virtual proton from the cytoplasm per antiport cycle. Crystal structures of the arginine/agmatine antiporter from Escherichia coli, AdiC, have been recently resolved in both the apo and Arg(+)-bound outward-facing conformations, which permit us to assess for the first time the time-resolved mechanisms of interactions that enable the specific antiporter functionality of AdiC. Using data from ∼1 μs of molecular dynamics simulations, we show that the protonation of Glu-208 selectively causes the dissociation and release of Agm(2+), but not Arg(+), to the cell exterior. The impact of Glu-208 protonation is transmitted to the substrate binding pocket via the reorientation of Ile-205 carbonyl group at the irregular portion of transmembrane (TM) helix 6. This effect, which takes place only in the subunits where Agm(2+) is released, invites attention to the functional role of the unwound portion of TM helices (TM6 Trp-202-Glu-208 in AdiC) in facilitating substrate translocation, reminiscent of the behavior observed in structurally similar Na(+)-coupled transporters.