Decision letter: A two-lane mechanism for selective biological ammonium transport [peer_review]

Nir Ben-Tal, Oded Lewinson, Ian Collinson, Nir Ben-Tal, Olga Boudker
2020 unpublished
The transport of charged molecules across biological membranes faces the dual problem of accommodating charges in a highly hydrophobic environment while maintaining selective substrate translocation. This has been the subject of a particular controversy for the exchange of ammonium across cellular membranes, an essential process in all domains of life. Ammonium transport is mediated by the ubiquitous Amt/Mep/Rh transporters that includes the human Rhesus factors. Here, using a combination of
more » ... ctrophysiology, yeast functional complementation and extended molecular dynamics simulations, we reveal a unique two-lane pathway for electrogenic NH 4 + transport in two archetypal members of the family, the transporters AmtB from Escherichia coli and Rh50 from Nitrosomonas europaea. The pathway underpins a mechanism by which charged H + and neutral NH 3 are carried separately across the membrane after NH 4 + deprotonation. This mechanism defines a new principle of achieving transport selectivity against competing ions in a biological transport process.
doi:10.7554/elife.57183.sa1 fatcat:aqopkaumxbdcza252fvemj56jq