We report on the functional characterization of GlnPQ, an ATP-binding cassette transporter with four extracytoplasmic substrate-binding domains. The first predicted transmembrane helix of GlnP was cleaved off in the mature protein and most likely serves as the signal sequence for the extracytoplasmic substrate-binding domains. Deletion analysis showed that the substrate-binding domain, in the primary sequence of GlnP nearest to the translocator domain, is used as the receptor that delivers the substrate to the translocator. Membrane reconstitution of the detergent-solubilized and purified GlnPQ complex yielded proteoliposomes that transported glutamine and glutamic acid at the expense of ATP. The transport activity of GlnPQ increased with lumenal salt concentration and internal pH, but the mechanism of ionic activation of the transporter is distinct from that of other osmoregulatory ATP-binding cassette transporters and does not depend on the presence of anionic lipids. The regulation of GlnPQ conforms to an electrostatic switch in which protein domain(s) and low molecular weight electrolytes participate.
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