Three-dimensional structure of the KdpFABC complex of Escherichia coli by electron tomography of two-dimensional crystals

J Struct Biol. 2008 Mar;161(3):411-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jsb.2007.09.006. Epub 2007 Sep 18.


The KdpFABC complex (Kdp) functions as a K+ pump in Escherichia coli and is a member of the family of P-type ATPases. Unlike other family members, Kdp has a unique oligomeric composition and is notable for segregating K+ transport and ATP hydrolysis onto separate subunits (KdpA and KdpB, respectively). We have produced two-dimensional crystals of the KdpFABC complex within reconstituted lipid bilayers and determined its three-dimensional structure from negatively stained samples using a combination of electron tomography and real-space averaging. The resulting map is at a resolution of 2.4 nm and reveals a dimer of Kdp molecules as the asymmetric unit; however, only the cytoplasmic domains are visible due to the lack of stain penetration within the lipid bilayer. The sizes of these cytoplasmic domains are consistent with Kdp and, using a pseudo-atomic model, we have described the subunit interactions that stabilize the Kdp dimer within the larger crystallographic array. These results illustrate the utility of electron tomography in structure determination of ordered assemblies, especially when disorder is severe enough to hamper conventional crystallographic analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / ultrastructure*
  • Cation Transport Proteins / ultrastructure*
  • Crystallography
  • Escherichia coli / ultrastructure*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / ultrastructure*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Multiprotein Complexes / ultrastructure*
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase / ultrastructure*
  • Tomography


  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • potassium translocating Kdp-ATPase, E coli
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase