Molecule of the Month: Proton-Gated Urea Channel
A channel that passes urea allows ulcer-producing bacteria to live in the stomach
Acid and Base
Open and Closed
Exploring the Structure
Proton-Gated Urea Channel (PDB entry 3ux4)
Infection by Helicobacter pylori is currently difficult to fight, requiring treatment with acid-blocking drugs and antibiotics. Researchers are using the structures of proteins from this bacterium to design new drugs to fight infection. The proton-gated urea channel is one key target, since it is a characteristic feature of the bacterium. To take a closer look at this structure, and explore the structural features that help it sense acid and pass urea, click on the image for an interactive Jmol.
Topics for Further Discussion
- Several other proteins from Helicobacter pylori, including an acid-sensing protein (PDB entry 3ub7), are available for exploration in the PDB archive.
- Structures for several urea transporters are also available in the PDB, including one similar to the one in our kidneys.
February 2013, David Goodselldoi:10.2210/rcsb_pdb/mom_2013_2