The One Ring: Structure of the c Ring of the Proton Pumping ATP synthase.
Protons are pumped across membranes to drive a rotary shaft that in turn makes ATP, the “currency of life”. ATP is used to fuel virtually all energy requiring processed in our body. For a beautiful animation of this rotary pump, see: http://goo.gl/gjiZN
Protons are ferried by the the c ring (image a), as in a merry go round. Each subunit carries a proton binding site (Glu59, image b), as it rotates. Images c and d show the electrostatic surface of this rotor, with acidic charges in red, basic in blue and neutral as white.
This structure is hot off the press and was presented by my friend David at the ATPase conference I am attending in Aspen, Colorado. It was obtained by making crystals and imaging with X-rays.
Ref: Structure of the c10 ring of the yeast mitochondrial ATP synthase in the open conformation. Jindrich Symersky, Vijayakanth Pagadala, Daniel Osowski, Alexander Krah, Thomas Meier, José D Faraldo-Gómez & David M Mueller ; Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 19, 485–491 (2012) doi:10.1038/nsmb.2284
David’s Homepage: http://web.mac.com/mueller.david/iWeb/LMB/dm_index.html