The Structure of a Mycobacterial Outer-Membrane Channel

Academic Article


  • Mycobacteria have low-permeability outer membranes that render them resistant to most antibiotics. Hydrophilic nutrients can enter by way of transmembrane-channel proteins called porins. An x-ray analysis of the main porin from Mycobacterium smegmatis, MspA, revealed a homooctameric goblet-like conformation with a single central channel. This is the first structure of a mycobacterial outer-membrane protein. No structure-related protein was found in the Protein Data Bank. MspA contains two consecutive β barrels with nonpolar outer surfaces that form a ribbon around the porin, which is too narrow to fit the thickness of the mycobacterial outer membrane in contemporary models.
  • Published In

  • Science  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Faller M; Niederweis M; Schulz GE
  • Start Page

  • 1189
  • End Page

  • 1192
  • Volume

  • 303
  • Issue

  • 5661