The CorA family: Structure and function revisited
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The CorA family is a group of ion transporters that mediate transport of divalent metal ions across biological membranes. Metal ions are essential elements in most cellular processes and hence the concentrations of ions in cells and organelles must be kept at appropriate levels. Impairment of these systems is implied in a number of pathological conditions. CorA proteins are abundant among the prokaryotic organisms but homologues are present in both human and yeast. The activity of CorA proteins has generally been associated with the transport of magnesium ions but the members of the CorA family can also transport other ions such as cobalt and nickel. The structure of the CorA from Thermotoga maritima, which also was the first structure of a divalent cation transporter determined, has opened the possibilities for understanding the mechanisms behind the ion transport and also corrected a number of assumptions that have been made in the past.