Oertzenweg 19 b
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The highly conserved G-M-N motif of the CorA-Mrs2-Alr1 family of Mg(2+) channels has been shown to be essential for Mg(2+) transport. We performed random mutagenesis of the G-M-N sequence of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Mrs2p in an unbiased genetic screen. A large number of mutants still capable of Mg(2+) influx, albeit below the wild-type level, were generated. Growth complementation assays, performed in media supplemented with Ca(2+) or Co(2+) or Mn(2+) or Zn(2+) at varying concentrations, lead to identification of mutants with reduced growth in the presence of Mn(2+) and Zn(2+). We hereby conclude that (1) at least two, but predominantly all three amino acids of the G-M-N motif must be replaced by certain combinations of other amino acids to remain functional, (2) replacement of any single amino acid within the G-M-N motif always impairs the function of Mrs2p, and (3) we show that the G-M-N motif determines ion selectivity, likely in concurrence with the negatively charged loop at the entrance of the channel thereby forming the Mrs2p selectivity filter.