Sodium and proton coupling in the conformational cycle of a MATE antiporter from
- PMID: 29915043[PubMed].
- PMCID: PMC6142240.
Secondary active transporters belonging to the multidrug and toxic compound extrusion (MATE) family harness the potential energy of electrochemical ion gradients to export a broad spectrum of cytotoxic compounds, thus contributing to multidrug resistance. The current mechanistic understanding of ion-coupled substrate transport has been informed by a limited set of MATE transporter crystal structures from multiple organisms that capture a 12-transmembrane helix topology adopting similar outward-facing conformations. Although these structures mapped conserved residues important for function, the mechanistic role of these residues in shaping the conformational cycle has not been investigated. Here, we use double-electron electron resonance (DEER) spectroscopy to explore ligand-dependent conformational changes of NorM from (NorM-Vc), a MATE transporter proposed to be coupled to both Na and H gradients. Distance measurements between spin labels on the periplasmic side of NorM-Vc identified unique structural intermediates induced by binding of Na, H, or the substrate doxorubicin. The Na- and H-dependent intermediates were associated with distinct conformations of TM1. Site-directed mutagenesis of conserved residues revealed that Na- and H-driven conformational changes are facilitated by a network of polar residues in the N-terminal domain cavity, whereas conserved carboxylates buried in the C-terminal domain are critical for stabilizing the drug-bound state. Interpreted in conjunction with doxorubicin binding of mutant NorM-Vc and cell toxicity assays, these results establish the role of ion-coupled conformational dynamics in the functional cycle and implicate H in the doxorubicin release mechanism.