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Vibrational and Molecular Properties of Mg2+ Binding and Ion Selectivity in the Magnesium Channel MgtE

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journal contribution
posted on 25.09.2018, 00:00 by Tetsunari Kimura, Victor A. Lorenz-Fonfria, Shintaro Douki, Hideyoshi Motoki, Ryuichiro Ishitani, Osamu Nureki, Masahiro Higashi, Yuji Furutani
Magnesium ions (Mg2+) are crucial for various biological processes. A bacterial Mg2+ channel, MgtE, tightly regulates the intracellular Mg2+ concentration. Previous X-ray crystal structures showed that MgtE forms a dimeric structure composed of a total of 10 transmembrane α helices forming a central pore, and intracellular soluble domains constituting a Mg2+ sensor. The ion selectivity for Mg2+ over Ca2+ resides at a central cavity in the transmembrane pore of MgtE, involving a conserved aspartate residue (Asp432) from each monomer. Here, we applied ion-exchange-induced difference FTIR spectroscopy to analyze the interactions between MgtE and divalent cations, Mg2+ and Ca2+. Using site-directed mutagenesis, vibrational bands at 1421 (Mg2+), 1407 (Mg2+), ∼1440 (Ca2+), and 1390 (Ca2+) cm–1 were assigned to symmetric carboxylate stretching modes of Asp432, involved in the ion coordination. Conservative modifications of the central cavity by Asp432Glu or Ala417Leu mutations resulted in the disappearance of the Mg2+-sensitive carboxylate bands, suggesting a highly optimized geometry for accommodating a Mg2+ ion. The dependency of the vibrational changes on Mg2+ and Ca2+ concentrations revealed the presence of a two different classes of binding sites: a high affinity site for Mg2+ (Kd ≈ 0.3 mM) with low Ca2+ affinity (Kd ≈ 80 mM), and a medium affinity site for Mg2+ (Kd ≈ 2 mM) and Ca2+ (Kd ≈ 6 mM), tentatively assigned to the central cavity and the sensor domain, respectively. With the aid of molecular dynamics simulation and normal-mode analysis by quantum chemistry, we confirm that changes in carboxylate bands of the high affinity binding site originate from Asp432 in the central cavity.