Structure of a glutamate transporter homologue from Pyrococcus horikoshii

Dinesh Yernool, Olga Boudker, Yan Jin, Eric Gouaux

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

597 Scopus citations


Glutamate transporters are integral membrane proteins that catalyse the concentrative uptake of glutamate from the synapse to intracellular spaces by harnessing pre-existing ion gradients. In the central nervous system glutamate transporters are essential for normal development and function, and are implicated in stroke, epilepsy and neurodegenerative diseases. Here we present the crystal structure of a eukaryotic glutamate transporter homologue from Pyrococcus horikoshii. The transporter is a bowl-shaped trimer with a solvent-filled extracellular basin extending halfway across the membrane bilayer. At the bottom of the basin are three independent binding sites, each cradled by two helical hairpins, reaching from opposite sides of the membrane. We propose that transport of glutamate is achieved by movements of the hairpins that allow alternating access to either side of the membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)811-818
Number of pages8
Issue number7010
StatePublished - Oct 14 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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