The fast release of sticky protons: Kinetics of substrate binding and proton release in a multidrug transporter

Yoav Adam, Naama Tayer, Dvir Rotem, Gideon Schreiber, Shimon Schuldiner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


EmrE is an Escherichia coli H+-coupled multidrug transporter that provides a unique experimental paradigm because of its small size and stability, and because its activity can be studied in detergent solution. In this work, we report a study of the transient kinetics of substrate binding and substrate-induced proton release in EmrE. For this purpose, we measured transient changes in the tryptophan fluorescence upon substrate binding and the rates of substrate-induced proton release. The fluorescence of the essential and fully conserved Trp residue at position 63 is sensitive to the occupancy of the binding site with either protons or substrate. The maximal rate of binding to detergent-solubilized EmrE of TPP+, a high-affinity substrate, is 2 × 107 M-1·s-1, a rate typical of diffusion-limited reactions. Rate measurements with medium- and low-affinity substrates imply that the affinity is determined mainly by the koff of the substrate. The rates of substrate binding and substrate-induced release of protons are faster at basic pHs and slower at lower pHs. These findings imply that the substrate-binding rates are determined by the generation of the species capable of binding; this is controlled by the high affinity to protons of the glutamate at position 14, because an Asp replacement with a lower pK is faster at the same pHs.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)17989-17994
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number46
StatePublished - 13 Nov 2007


  • Drug
  • Fluorescence
  • Ion-coupled transporter
  • Membrane protein
  • Resistance
  • Transient kinetic


Dive into the research topics of 'The fast release of sticky protons: Kinetics of substrate binding and proton release in a multidrug transporter'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this