The major facilitator superfamily (MFS) represents the largest collection of evolutionarily related members within the class of membrane 'carrier' proteins. OAT, a representative example of the MFS, is an oxalate-transporting membrane protein in Oxalobacter formigenes. From an electron crystallographic analysis of two-dimensional crystals of OAT, we have determined the projection structure of this membrane transporter. The projection map at 6 Angstrom resolution indicates the presence of 12 transmembrane helices in each monomer of OxlT, with one set of six helices related to the other set by an approximate internal two-fold axis. The projection map reveals the existence of a central cavity, which we propose to be part of the pathway of oxalate transport. By combining information from the projection map with related biochemical data, we present probable models for the architectural arrangement of transmembrane helices in this protein superfamily.
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