Structures of the CcmABCD heme release complex at multiple states

Jiao Li, Wan Zheng, Ming Gu, Long Han, Yanmei Luo, Koukou Yu, Mengxin Sun, Yuliang Zong, Xiuxiu Ma, Bing Liu, Ethan P. Lowder, Deanna L. Mendez, Robert G. Kranz, Kai Zhang, Jiapeng Zhu

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5 Scopus citations


Cytochromes c use heme as a cofactor to carry electrons in respiration and photosynthesis. The cytochrome c maturation system I, consisting of eight membrane proteins (CcmABCDEFGH), results in the attachment of heme to cysteine residues of cytochrome c proteins. Since all c-type cytochromes are periplasmic, heme is first transported to a periplasmic heme chaperone, CcmE. A large membrane complex, CcmABCD has been proposed to carry out this transport and linkage to CcmE, yet the structural basis and mechanisms underlying the process are unknown. We describe high resolution cryo-EM structures of CcmABCD in an unbound form, in complex with inhibitor AMP-PNP, and in complex with ATP and heme. We locate the ATP-binding site in CcmA and the heme-binding site in CcmC. Based on our structures combined with functional studies, we propose a hypothetic model of heme trafficking, heme transfer to CcmE, and ATP-dependent release of holoCcmE from CcmABCD. CcmABCD represents an ABC transporter complex using the energy of ATP hydrolysis for the transfer of heme from one binding partner (CcmC) to another (CcmE).

Original languageEnglish
Article number6422
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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