Active transport of cations is achieved by a large family of ATP-dependent ion pumps, known as P-type ATPases. Various members of this family have been targets of structural and functional investigations for over four decades. Recently, atomic structures have been determined for Ca2+-ATPase by X-ray crystallography, which not only reveal the architecture of these molecules but also offer the opportunity to understand the structural mechanisms by which the energy of ATP is coupled to calcium transport across the membrane. This energy coupling is accomplished by large-scale conformational changes. The transmembrane domain undergoes plastic deformations under the influence of calcium binding at the transport site. Cytoplasmic domains undergo dramatic rigid-body movements that deliver substrates to the catalytic site and that establish new domain interfaces. By comparing various structures and correlating functional data, we can now begin to associate the chemical changes constituting the reaction cycle with structural changes in these domains.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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