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An amino acid cluster around the essential Glu-14 is part of the substrate- and proton-binding domain of EmrE, a multidrug transporter from Escherichia coli.

Gutman N., Steiner-Mordoch S., Schuldiner S.

EmrE is a small multidrug transporter (110 amino acids long) from Escherichia coli that extrudes various drugs in exchange with protons, thereby rendering bacteria resistant to these compounds. Glu-14 is the only charged membrane-embedded residue in EmrE and is evolutionarily highly conserved. This residue has an unusually high pK and is an essential part of the binding domain, shared by substrates and protons. The occupancy of the binding domain is mutually exclusive, and, as such, this provides the molecular basis for the coupling between substrate and proton fluxes. Systematic cysteine-scanning mutagenesis of the residues in the transmembrane segment (TM1), where Glu-14 is located, reveals an amino acid cluster on the same face of TM1 as Glu-14 that is part of the substrate- and proton-binding domain. Substitutions at most of these positions yielded either inactive mutants or mutants with modified affinity to substrates. Substitutions at the Ala-10 position, one helix turn away from Glu-14, yielded mutants with modified affinity to protons and thereby impaired in the coupling of substrate and proton fluxes. Taken as a whole, the results strongly support the concept of a common binding site for substrate and protons and stress the importance of one face of TM1 in substrate recognition, binding, and H(+)-coupled transport.

J. Biol. Chem. 278:16082-16087(2003) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]