Although membrane proteins constitute more than 20% of the total proteins, the structures of only a few are known in detail. An important group of integral membrane proteins are ion-transporting ATPases of the P-type family, which share the formation of an acid-stable phosphorylated intermediate as part of their reaction cycle. There are several crystal structures of the sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ pump (SERCA) revealing different conformations, and recently, crystal structures of the H+-ATPase and the Na+/K+-ATPase were reported as well. However, there are no atomic resolution structures for other P-type ATPases including the plasma membrane calcium pump (PMCA), which is integral to cellular Ca2+ signaling. Crystallization of these proteins is challenging because there is often no natural source from which the protein can be obtained in large quantities, and the presence of multiple isoforms in the same tissue further complicates efforts to obtain homogeneous samples suitable for crystallization. Alternative techniques to study structural aspects and conformational transitions in the PMCAs (and other P-type ATPases) have therefore been developed. Specifically, information about the structure and assembly of the transmembrane domain of an integral membrane protein can be obtained from an analysis of the lipid – protein interactions. Here, we review recent efforts using different hydrophobic photo-labeling methods to study the non-covalent interactions between the PMCA and surrounding phospholipids under different experimental conditions, and discuss how the use of these lipid probes can reveal valuable information on the membrane organization and conformational state transitions in the PMCA, Na+/K+-ATPase, and other P-type ATPases.
Keywords: Ca2+-ATPase, hydrophobic photo-labeling, lipid-protein interaction, membrane protein, Na+/K+-ATPase, PMCA, P-type ATPase, photo-labeling group TPD, 8-(5'-azido-O-hexanoylsalicylami-do)octanoic acid (AS86), Ca2+-ATPase activity, SERCA
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