Fungal ENA ATPases
Begoña and her crew are starting strong into the new year!!!
Fresh from the press, they report on the phyogenic and structural intricacies of fungal ENA ATPases, using the Neurospora crassa protein as an example. Nice piece of work.
ENA transporters are a group of P-type ATPases that are characterized by actively moving Na+ or K+ out of the cell against their concentration gradient. The existence of these transporters was initially attributed to some fungi, although more recently they have also been identified in mosses, liverworts, and some protozoa. Given the current increase in the number of organisms whose genomes are completely sequenced, we set out to expand our knowledge about the existence of ENA in organisms belonging to other phylogenetic groups. For that, a hidden Markov model profile was constructed to identify homologous sequences to ENA proteins in protein databases. This analysis allowed us to identify the existence of ENA-type ATPases in the most primitive groups of fungi, as well as in other eukaryotic organisms not described so far. In addition, this study has allowed the identification of a possible new group of P-ATPases, initially proposed as ENA but which maintain phylogenetic distances with these proteins. Finally, this work has also addressed this study of the structure of ENA proteins, which remained unknown due to the lack of crystallographic data. For this purpose, a 3D structure prediction of the NcENA1 protein of the fungus Neurospora crassa was performed using AlphaFold2 software v2.3.1. From this structure, the electrostatic potential of the protein was analyzed. With all these data, the protein regions and the amino acids involved in the transport of Na+ or K+ ions across the membrane were proposed for the first time. Targeted mutagenesis of some of these residues has confirmed their relevant participation in the transport function of ENA proteins.