Crystal structure of a light-driven sodium pump

Ivan Gushchin, Vitaly Shevchenko, Vitaly Polovinkin, Kirill Kovalev, Alexey Alekseev, Ekaterina Round, Valentin Borshchevskiy, Taras Balandin, Alexander Popov, Thomas Gensch, Christoph Fahlke, Christian Bamann, Dieter Willbold, Georg Büldt, Ernst Bamberg, Valentin Gordeliy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, the first known light-driven sodium pumps, from the microbial rhodopsin family, were discovered. We have solved the structure of one of them, Krokinobacter eikastus rhodopsin 2 (KR2), in the monomeric blue state and in two pentameric red states, at resolutions of 1.45 Å and 2.2 and 2.8 Å, respectively. The structures reveal the ion-translocation pathway and show that the sodium ion is bound outside the protein at the oligomerization interface, that the ion-release cavity is capped by a unique N-terminal α-helix and that the ion-uptake cavity is unexpectedly large and open to the surface. Obstruction of the cavity with the mutation G263F imparts KR2 with the ability to pump potassium. These results pave the way for the understanding and rational design of cation pumps with new specific properties valuable for optogenetics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-396
Number of pages7
JournalNature Structural and Molecular Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 11 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Medicine(all)

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