ABC transporters: the power to change

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2009 Mar;10(3):218-27. doi: 10.1038/nrm2646.


ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters constitute a ubiquitous superfamily of integral membrane proteins that are responsible for the ATP-powered translocation of many substrates across membranes. The highly conserved ABC domains of ABC transporters provide the nucleotide-dependent engine that drives transport. By contrast, the transmembrane domains that create the translocation pathway are more variable. Recent structural advances with prokaryotic ABC transporters have provided a qualitative molecular framework for deciphering the transport cycle. An important goal is to develop quantitative models that detail the kinetic and molecular mechanisms by which ABC transporters couple the binding and hydrolysis of ATP to substrate translocation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / chemistry*
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / genetics
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Biological Transport / genetics
  • Dimerization
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters