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Science 305 (5690): 1587-1594

Copyright © 2004 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Mechanism of Ammonia Transport by Amt/MEP/Rh: Structure of AmtB at 1.35 Å

Shahram Khademi, Joseph O'Connell, III, Jonathan Remis, Yaneth Robles-Colmenares, Larry J. W. Miercke, Robert M. Stroud*

Abstract: The first structure of an ammonia channel from the Amt/MEP/Rh protein superfamily, determined to 1.35 angstrom resolution, shows it to be a channel that spans the membrane 11 times. Two structurally similar halves span the membrane with opposite polarity. Structures with and without ammonia or methyl ammonia show a vestibule that recruits NH 4+/NH3, a binding site for NH 4+, and a 20 angstrom–long hydrophobic channel that lowers the NH 4+ pKa to below 6 and conducts NH3. Favorable interactions for NH3 are seen within the channel and use conserved histidines. Reconstitution of AmtB into vesicles shows that AmtB conducts uncharged NH3.

Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, S412C Genentech Hall, University of California–San Francisco, 600 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94143–2240, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: stroud{at}

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CeRh1 (rhr-1) is a dominant Rhesus gene essential for embryonic development and hypodermal function in Caenorhabditis elegans.
Q. Ji, S. Hashmi, Z. Liu, J. Zhang, Y. Chen, and C.-H. Huang (2006)
PNAS 103, 5881-5886
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Profile of Robert M. Stroud.
T. H. Davis (2006)
PNAS 103, 5256-5258
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The sulfonated osmolyte N-methyltaurine is dissimilated by Alcaligenes faecalis and by Paracoccus versutus with release of methylamine..
S. Weinitschke, K. Denger, T. H. M. Smits, K. Hollemeyer, and A. M. Cook (2006)
Microbiology 152, 1179-1186
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Projection structure of the human copper transporter CTR1 at 6-A resolution reveals a compact trimer with a novel channel-like architecture.
S. G. Aller and V. M. Unger (2006)
PNAS 103, 3627-3632
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Differential Expression of Aspergillus nidulans Ammonium Permease Genes Is Regulated by GATA Transcription Factor AreA.
B. J. Monahan, M. C. Askin, M. J. Hynes, and M. A. Davis (2006)
Eukaryot. Cell 5, 226-237
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Characterization of ammonia transport by the kidney Rh glycoproteins RhBG and RhCG.
D.-O. D. Mak, B. Dang, I. D. Weiner, J. K. Foskett, and C. M. Westhoff (2006)
Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 290, F297-F305
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Different Transport Mechanisms in Plant and Human AMT/Rh-type Ammonium Transporters.
M. Mayer, G. Schaaf, I. Mouro, C. Lopez, Y. Colin, P. Neumann, J.-P. Cartron, and U. Ludewig (2006)
J. Gen. Physiol. 127, 133-144
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