Changes within the central stalk of E. coli F1Fo ATP synthase observed after addition of ATP
F1Fo ATP synthase functions as a biological generator and makes a major contribution to cellular energy production. Proton flow generates rotation in the Fo motor that is transferred to the F1 motor to catalyze ATP production, with flexible F1/Fo coupling required for efficient catalysis. F1Fo ATP synthase can also operate in reverse, hydrolyzing ATP and pumping protons, and in bacteria this function can be regulated by an inhibitory ε subunit. Here we present cryo-EM data showing E. coli F1Fo ATP synthase in different rotational and inhibited sub-states, observed following incubation with 10 mM MgATP. Our structures demonstrate how structural transitions within the inhibitory ε subunit induce torsional movement in the central stalk, thereby enabling its rotation within the Fο motor. This highlights the importance of the central rotor for flexible coupling of the F1 and Fo motors and provides further insight into the regulatory mechanism mediated by subunit ε.
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National Institutes of Health