Structure of V-ATPase from the mammalian brain

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Science  13 Mar 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6483, pp. 1240-1246
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz2924

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Snapshots of a rotary pump

Vesicular- or vacuolar-type adenosine triphosphatases (V-ATPases) are ATP-hydrolysis–driven proton pumps. In neurons, V-ATPase activity generates a proton gradient across the membrane of synaptic vesicles so that neurotransmitters can be loaded into the vesicles. Abbas et al. developed a method to purify V-ATPase from rat brain and determined the structure of the entire complex by cryo–electron microscopy. Native mass spectrometry showed that the preparation was homogeneous and complemented structural studies by confirming the subunit composition. Three rotational states were resolved at better than 4-angstrom resolution, providing insight into the conformational changes that couple ATP hydrolysis to proton pumping.

Science, this issue p. 1240


In neurons, the loading of neurotransmitters into synaptic vesicles uses energy from proton-pumping vesicular- or vacuolar-type adenosine triphosphatases (V-ATPases). These membrane protein complexes possess numerous subunit isoforms, which complicates their analysis. We isolated homogeneous rat brain V-ATPase through its interaction with SidK, a Legionella pneumophila effector protein. Cryo–electron microscopy allowed the construction of an atomic model, defining the enzyme’s ATP:proton ratio as 3:10 and revealing a homolog of yeast subunit f in the membrane region, which we tentatively identify as RNAseK. The c ring encloses the transmembrane anchors for cleaved ATP6AP1/Ac45 and ATP6AP2/PRR, the latter of which is the (pro)renin receptor that, in other contexts, is involved in both Wnt signaling and the renin-angiotensin system that regulates blood pressure. This structure shows how ATP6AP1/Ac45 and ATP6AP2/PRR enable assembly of the enzyme’s catalytic and membrane regions.

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