Cryo-EM Structures of the Magnesium Channel CorA Reveal Symmetry Break upon Gating.
CorA, the major Mg(2+) uptake system in prokaryotes, is gated by intracellular Mg(2+) (KD ∼ 1-2 mM). X-ray crystallographic studies of CorA show similar conformations under Mg(2+)-bound and Mg(2+)-free conditions, but EPR spectroscopic studies reveal large Mg(2+)-driven quaternary conformational changes. Here, we determined cryo-EM structures of CorA in the Mg(2+)-bound closed conformation and in two open Mg(2+)-free states at resolutions of 3.8, 7.1, and 7.1 Å, respectively. In the absence of bound Mg(2+), four of the five subunits are displaced to variable extents (∼ 10-25 Å) by hinge-like motions as large as ∼ 35° at the stalk helix. The transition between a single 5-fold symmetric closed state and an ensemble of low Mg(2+), open, asymmetric conformational states is, thus, the key structural signature of CorA gating. This mechanism is likely to apply to other structurally similar divalent ion channels.
Matthies, D; Dalmas, O; Borgnia, MJ; Dominik, PK; Merk, A; Rao, P; Reddy, BG; Islam, S; Bartesaghi, A; Perozo, E; Subramaniam, S
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