Structural consequences of ATP hydrolysis on the ABC transporter NBD dimer: molecular dynamics studies of HlyB

João M Damas, A Sofia F Oliveira, António M Baptista, Cláudio M Soares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


ABC transporters are a large and important family of membrane proteins involved in substrate transport across the membrane. The transported substrates are quite diverse, ranging from monatomic ions to large biomolecules. Consequently, some ABC transporters are involved in biomedically relevant situations, from genetic diseases to multidrug resistance. The most conserved domains in ABC transporters are the nucleotide binding domains (NBDs), which form a dimer responsible for the binding and hydrolysis of ATP, concomitantly with substrate translocation. To elucidate how ATP hydrolysis structurally affects the NBD dimer, and consequently the transporter, we performed a molecular dynamics study on the NBD dimer of the HlyB ABC exporter. We have observed a change in the contact surface between the monomers after hydrolysis, even though we have not seen dimer opening in any of the five 100 ns simulations. We have also identified specific regions that respond to ATP hydrolysis, in particular the X-loop motif of ABC exporters, which has been shown to be in contact with the coupling helices of the transmembrane domains (TMDs). We propose that this motif is an important part of the NBD-TMD communication in ABC exporters. Through nonequilibrium analysis, we have also identified gradual conformational changes within a short time scale after ATP hydrolysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1220-30
Number of pages11
JournalProtein Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Escherichia coli
  • Hemolysin Proteins
  • Hydrolysis
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation
  • Mutation
  • Nucleotides
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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