TCB Publications - Abstract

Tanmay S. Chavan, Ricky C. Cheng, Tao Jiang, Irimpan I. Mathews, Richard A. Stein, Antoine Koehl, Hassane S. Mchaourab, Emad Tajkhorshid, and Merritt Maduke. A CLC-ec1 mutant reveals global conformational change and suggests a unifying mechanism for the Cl-/H+ transport cycle. eLife, 9, 2020. (PMC: PMC7253180)

CHAV2020-ET Among coupled exchangers, CLCs uniquely catalyze the exchange of oppositely charged ions (Cl$^-$ for H$^+$). Transport-cycle models to describe and explain this unusual mechanism have been proposed based on known CLC structures. While the proposed models harmonize many experimental findings, there have remained gaps and inconsistencies in our understanding. One limitation has been that global conformational change - which occurs in all conventional transporter mechanisms - has not been observed in any high-resolution structure. Here, we describe the 2.6 Å structure of a CLC mutant designed to mimic the fully H$^+$-loaded transporter. This structure reveals a global conformational change to a state that has improved accessibility for the Cl$^-$ substrate from the extracellular side and new conformations for two key glutamate residues. Based on this new structure, together with DEER measurements, MD simulations, and functional studies, we propose a unified model of the CLC transport mechanism that reconciles existing data on all CLC-type proteins.


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