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Researcher Reviews Structure and Mechanism of Energy-coupling Factor Transporters

Prof. ZHANG Peng from the Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, CAS was invited by Trends in Microbiology to review structure and mechanism of energy-coupling factor transporters.

Energy-coupling factor (ECF) transporters form a new family of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters and are widely used by prokaryotes (including many pathogenic bacteria) to take up micronutrients from the environment. Each ECF transporter contains a membrane-embedded substrate-binding protein (known as the S component), an energy-coupling module that comprises two ATP-binding proteins (known as the A and A’ components) and a transmembrane protein (known as the T component). This review summarized the recent structural advances in ECF transporters, discussed the substrate specific binding and energy coupling mechanisms, and proposed a working model represent the up-to-date understandings of the transport process. At the end of the article, the molecular mechanism of energy coupling and transport of this novel family of transporters was discussed, the scientific questions remain to be solved and future research directions were suggested.

This review entitle “Structure and mechanism of energy-coupling factor transporters” was published in Trends in Microbiology on Oct 22, 2013. (http://www.cell.com/trends/microbiology/newarticles)

One research interest of ZHANG Peng’s group is to investigate the structure and transport mechanism of energy-coupling factor transporters by crystallographic and biochemical methods. ZHANG Peng and his lab members reported the structures of the S component of riboflavin ECF transporter and the folate ECF transporter complex in Nature in 2010 and 2013, respectively. With these new findings, people now have novel understandings of the cross-membrane transport of vitamins by ECF transporters. More important, these studies provide molecular basis for antibiotic drug development.

Research in ZHANG Peng’s group was funded by Ministry of Science & Technology of China, National Natural Science Foundation of China, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences (SIBS, CAS), and Shanghai Municipality.
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