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Hydrogen bonds are fundamental to the structure and function of biological macromolecules and have been explored in detail. The chains of hydrogen bonds (CHBs) and low-barrier hydrogen bonds (LBHBs) were proposed to play essential roles in enzyme catalysis and proton transport. However, high-resolution structural data from CHBs and LBHBs is limited. The challenge is that their 'visualization' requires ultrahigh-resolution structures of the ground and functionally important intermediate states to identify proton translocation events and perform their structural assignment. Our true-atomic-resolution structures of the light-driven proton pump bacteriorhodopsin, a model in studies of proton transport, show that CHBs and LBHBs not only serve as proton pathways, but also are indispensable for long-range communications, signaling and proton storage in proteins. The complete picture of CHBs and LBHBs discloses their multifunctional roles in providing protein functions and presents a consistent picture of proton transport and storage resolving long-standing debates and controversies. © 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature America, Inc.


Valentin Borshchevskiy, Kirill Kovalev, Ekaterina Round, Rouslan Efremov, Roman Astashkin, Gleb Bourenkov, Dmitry Bratanov, Taras Balandin, Igor Chizhov, Christian Baeken, Ivan Gushchin, Alexander Kuzmin, Alexey Alekseev, Andrey Rogachev, Dieter Willbold, Martin Engelhard, Ernst Bamberg, Georg Büldt, Valentin Gordeliy. True-atomic-resolution insights into the structure and functional role of linear chains and low-barrier hydrogen bonds in proteins. Nature structural & molecular biology. 2022 May;29(5):440-450

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PMID: 35484235

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