Solution structure of the transmembrane H+-transporting subunit c of the F1F0 ATP synthase

Biochemistry. 1998 Jun 23;37(25):8817-24. doi: 10.1021/bi980511m.


Subunit c is the H+-translocating component of the F1F0 ATP synthase complex. H+ transport is coupled to conformational changes that ultimately lead to ATP synthesis by the enzyme. The properties of the monomeric subunit in a single-phase solution of chloroform-methanol-water (4:4:1) have been shown to mimic those of the protein in the native complex. Triple resonance NMR experiments were used to determine the complete structure of monomeric subunit c in this solvent mixture. The structure of the protein was defined by >2000 interproton distances, 64 (3)JN alpha, and 43 hydrogen-bonding NMR-derived restraints. The root mean squared deviation for the backbone atoms of the two transmembrane helices was 0.63 A. The protein folds as a hairpin of two antiparallel helical segments, connected by a short structured loop. The conserved Arg41-Gln42-Pro43 form the top of this loop. The essential H+-transporting Asp61 residue is located at a slight break in the middle of the C-terminal helix, just prior to Pro64. The C-terminal helix changes direction by 30 +/- 5 degrees at the conserved Pro64. In its protonated form, the Asp61 lies in a cavity created by the absence of side chains at Gly23 and Gly27 in the N-terminal helix. The shape and charge distribution of the molecular surface of the monomeric protein suggest a packing arrangement for the oligomeric protein in the F0 complex, with the front face of one monomer packing favorably against the back face of a second monomer. The packing suggests that the proton (cation) binding site lies between packed pairs of adjacent subunit c.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nitrogen Isotopes
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular / methods
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / chemistry*
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / metabolism
  • Solutions


  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Nitrogen Isotopes
  • Solutions
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases