18. January 2007

Key proteins illuminated by SLS

Media Releases Human Health Biology Research Using Synchrotron Light

How cells regulate nitrogen uptake can be better understood.

Nitrogen uptake and metabolism is essential for living cells. The uptake mainly occurs through the most reduced form of nitrogen, ammonia. When nitrogen is limited, ammonia uptake in fungi, plants, archaea (ancient bacteria like organisms) and eubacteria is facilitated by a family of membrane proteins known as the ammonium transporters (Amt/Mep) family.

In collaboration with two UK groups, researchers at PSI have now determined the crystal structure of the complex between the ammonia channel AmtB and its regulatory protein GlnK. This marks a considerable advance in understanding nitrogen regulation in prokaryotic cells. (Prokaryotes are organisms without a cell nucleus). These results were recently published in the journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A.
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