Cryo-EM structures and functional characterization of the lipid scramblase TMEM16F

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The lipid scramblase TMEM16F initiates blood coagulation by catalyzing the exposure of phosphatidylserine in platelets. The protein is part of a family of membrane proteins, which encompasses calcium-activated channels for ions and lipids. Here, we reveal features of TMEM16F that underlie its function as lipid scramblase and ion channel. The cryo-EM structures of TMEM16F in Ca 2+ -bound and Ca 2+ -free states display a striking similarity to the scrambling-incompetent anion channel TMEM16A, yet with distinct differences in the catalytic site and in the conformational changes upon activation. In conjunction with functional data, we demonstrate the relationship between ion conduction and lipid scrambling. Although activated by a common mechanism, which likely resembles an equivalent process defined in the homologue nhTMEM16, both functions appear to be mediated by alternate protein conformations, which are at equilibrium in the ligand-bound state.

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