Structural asymmetry in the magnesium channel CorA points to sequential allosteric regulation.Pfoh, R., Li, A., Chakrabarti, N., Payandeh, J., Pomes, R., Pai, E.F.
(2012) Proc.Natl.Acad.Sci.USA 109: 18809-18814
- PubMed: 23112165
- DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1209018109
- Primary Citation of Related Structures:  4EEB
- PubMed Abstract:
Magnesium ions (Mg(2+)) are essential for life, but the mechanisms regulating their transport into and out of cells remain poorly understood. The CorA-Mrs2-Alr1 superfamily of Mg(2+) channels represents the most prevalent group of proteins enabling M ...
Magnesium ions (Mg(2+)) are essential for life, but the mechanisms regulating their transport into and out of cells remain poorly understood. The CorA-Mrs2-Alr1 superfamily of Mg(2+) channels represents the most prevalent group of proteins enabling Mg(2+) ions to cross membranes. Thermotoga maritima CorA (TmCorA) is the only member of this protein family whose complete 3D fold is known. Here, we report the crystal structure of a mutant in the presence and absence of divalent ions and compare it with previous divalent ion-bound TmCorA structures. With Mg(2+) present, this structure shows binding of a hydrated Mg(2+) ion to the periplasmic Gly-Met-Asn (GMN) motif, revealing clues of ion selectivity in this unique channel family. In the absence of Mg(2+), TmCorA displays an unexpected asymmetric conformation caused by radial and lateral tilts of protomers that leads to bending of the central, pore-lining helix. Molecular dynamics simulations support these movements, including a bell-like deflection. Mass spectrometric analysis confirms that major proteolytic cleavage occurs within a region that is selectively exposed by such a bell-like bending motion. Our results point to a sequential allosteric model of regulation, where intracellular Mg(2+) binding locks TmCorA in a symmetric, transport-incompetent conformation and loss of intracellular Mg(2+) causes an asymmetric, potentially influx-competent conformation of the channel.
Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5G 1L7.