Membrane topology of the cyanobacterial bicarbonate transporter, SbtA, and identification of potential regulatory loops

Mol Membr Biol. 2011 Aug;28(5):265-75. doi: 10.3109/09687688.2011.593049. Epub 2011 Jun 23.


The transporter SbtA is a high affinity Na+-dependent HCO3- uptake system present in a majority of cyanobacterial clades. It functions in conjunction with CO2 uptake systems and other HCO3- uptake systems to allow cyanobacteria to accumulate high levels of HCO3- used to support efficient photosynthetic CO2 fixation via the CO2 concentrating mechanism in these species. The phoA/lacZ fusion reporter method was used to determine the membrane topology of the cyanobacterial bicarbonate transporter, SbtA (predicted size of ∼39.7 kD), cloned from the freshwater strain, Synechocystis PCC6803. The structure conforms to a model featuring 10 transmembrane helices (TMHs), with a distinct 5+5 duplicated structure. Both the N- and C-terminus are outside the cell and the second half of the protein is inverted relative to the first. The first putative helix appears to lack sufficient topogenic signals for its correct orientation in the membrane and instead relies on the presence of later helices. The cytoplasmic loop between helices 5 and 6 is a likely location for regulatory mechanisms that could govern activation of the transporter, and the cytoplasmic loop between helices 9 and 10 also contains some conserved putative regulatory residues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / chemistry*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Synechococcus / metabolism*
  • beta-Galactosidase / metabolism


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • beta-Galactosidase