Sci. Signal., 14 February 2012
Structural Biology Maintaining Equilibrium
Science, AAAS, Washington, DC 20005, USA
Na+/Ca2+ exchangers (NCX) are membrane transporters that maintain the homeostasis of cytosolic Ca2+ and play an essential role in Ca2+ signaling. Despite a long history of physiological work and a large body of functional data, the structural basis underlying the ion exchange mechanism of NCX is poorly understood. Liao et al. (see the Perspective by Abramson et al.) present a high-resolution crystal structure of an NCX from Methanococcus jannaschii and demonstrate that this archaeal NCX catalyzes Na+/Ca2+-exchange reactions similar to its eukaryotic counterpart. The structure clarifies the mechanism of ion exchange proteins and reveals the basis for the stoichiometry, cooperativity, and bidirectionality of the reaction.
Citation: V. Vinson, Maintaining Equilibrium. Sci. Signal. 5, ec49 (2012).
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