Transmembrane sodium-ion gradients provide energy that can be harnessed by 'secondary transporters' to drive the translocation of solute molecules into a cell. Decades of study have shown that such sodium-coupled transporters are involved in many physiological processes, making them targets for the treatment of numerous diseases. Within the past year, crystal structures of several sodium-coupled transporters from different families have been reported, showing a remarkable structural conservation between functionally unrelated transporters. These atomic-resolution structures are revealing the mechanism of the sodium-coupled transport of solutes across cellular membranes.
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