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To contend with hazards posed by environmental fluoride, microorganisms export this anion through F(-)-specific ion channels of the Fluc family. Since the recent discovery of Fluc channels, numerous idiosyncratic features of these proteins have been unearthed, including strong selectivity for F(-) over Cl(-) and dual-topology dimeric assembly. To understand the chemical basis for F(-) permeation and how the antiparallel subunits convene to form a F(-)-selective pore, here we solve the crystal structures of two bacterial Fluc homologues in complex with three different monobody inhibitors, with and without F(-) present, to a maximum resolution of 2.1 Å. The structures reveal a surprising 'double-barrelled' channel architecture in which two F(-) ion pathways span the membrane, and the dual-topology arrangement includes a centrally coordinated cation, most likely Na(+). F(-) selectivity is proposed to arise from the very narrow pores and an unusual anion coordination that exploits the quadrupolar edges of conserved phenylalanine rings.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/nature14981

Type

Journal article

Journal

Nature

Publication Date

24/09/2015

Volume

525

Pages

548 - 551

Keywords

Anions, Bacterial Proteins, Cell Membrane, Crystallography, X-Ray, Fluorides, Ion Channels, Models, Biological, Models, Molecular, Phenylalanine, Protein Conformation