The cation diffusion facilitator protein MamM's cytoplasmic domain exhibits metal-type dependent binding modes and discriminates against Mn2+

Shiran Barber-Zucker, Jenny Hall, Afonso Froes, Sofiya Kolusheva, Fraser MacMillan, Raz Zarivach

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Cation diffusion facilitator (CDF) proteins are a conserved family of divalent transition metal cation transporters. CDF proteins are usually composed of two domains: the transmembrane domain (TMD), in which the metal cations are transported through, and a regulatory cytoplasmic C-terminal domain (CTD). Each CDF protein transports either one specific metal, or multiple metals, from the cytoplasm, and it is not known if the CTD takes an active regulatory role in metal recognition and discrimination during cation transport. Here, the model CDF protein MamM, an iron transporter from magnetotactic bacteria, was used to probe the role of the CTD in metal recognition and selectivity. Using a combination of biophysical and structural approaches, the binding of different metals to MamM CTD was characterized. Results reveal that different metals bind distinctively to MamM CTD in terms of their binding sites, thermodynamics and binding-dependent conformations, both in crystal form and in solution, which suggests a varying level of functional discrimination between CDF domains. Furthermore, these results provide the first direct evidence that CDF CTDs play a role in metal selectivity. We demonstrate that MamM's CTD can discriminate against Mn2+, supporting its postulated role in preventing magnetite formation poisoning in magnetotactic bacteria via Mn2+ incorporation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16614-16629
Number of pages16
JournalThe Journal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number49
Early online date23 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2020


  • DEER
  • Cation Diffusion facilitator (CDF)
  • MamM
  • EPR spectroscopy
  • ESR Spectroscopy

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