Low resolution structure of a bacterial SLC26 transporter reveals dimeric stoichiometry and mobile intracellular domains

Compton-Daw, Emma and Karinou, Eleni and Naismith, James H. and Gabel, Frank and Javelle, Arnaud (2011) Low resolution structure of a bacterial SLC26 transporter reveals dimeric stoichiometry and mobile intracellular domains. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 286 (30). pp. 27058-27067. ISSN 1083-351X

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Abstract

The SLC26/SulP (solute carrier/sulfate transporter) proteins are a superfamily of anion transporters conserved from bacteria to man, of which four have been identified in human diseases. Proteins within the SLC26/SulP family exhibit a wide variety of functions, transporting anions from halides to carboxylic acids. The proteins comprise a transmembrane domain containing between 10-12 transmembrane helices followed a by C-terminal cytoplasmic sulfate transporter and anti-sigma factor antagonist (STAS) domain. These proteins are expected to undergo conformational changes during the transport cycle; however, structural information for this family remains sparse, particularly for the full-length proteins. To address this issue, we conducted an expression and detergent screen on bacterial Slc26 proteins. The screen identified a Yersinia enterocolitica Slc26A protein as the ideal candidate for further structural studies as it can be purified to homogeneity. Partial proteolysis, co-purification, and analytical size exclusion chromatography demonstrate that the protein purifies as stable oligomers. Using small angle neutron scattering combined with contrast variation, we have determined the first low resolution structure of a bacterial Slc26 protein without spectral contribution from the detergent. The structure confirms that the protein forms a dimer stabilized via its transmembrane core; the cytoplasmic STAS domain projects away from the transmembrane domain and is not involved in dimerization. Supported by additional biochemical data, the structure suggests that large movements of the STAS domain underlie the conformational changes that occur during transport.