Hydrogen-Deuterium Exchange Mass-Spectrometry of Secondary Active Transporters: From Structural Dynamics to Molecular Mechanisms

Moshe Giladi*, Daniel Khananshvili

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Membrane transporters allow the selective transport of otherwise poorly permeable solutes across the cell membrane and thus, play a key role in maintaining cellular homeostasis in all kingdoms of life. Importantly, these proteins also serve as important drug targets. Over the last decades, major progress in structural biology methods has elucidated important structure-function relationships in membrane transporters. However, structures obtained using methods such as X-ray crystallography and high-resolution cryogenic electron microscopy merely provide static snapshots of an intrinsically dynamic, multi-step transport process. Therefore, there is a growing need for developing new experimental approaches capable of exploiting the data obtained from the high-resolution snapshots in order to investigate the dynamic features of membrane proteins. Here, we present the basic principles of hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass-spectrometry (HDX-MS) and recent advancements in its use to study membrane transporters. In HDX-MS experiments, minute amounts of a protein sample can be used to investigate its structural dynamics under native conditions, without the need for chemical labelling and with practically no limit on the protein size. Thus, HDX-MS is instrumental for resolving the structure-dynamic landscapes of membrane proteins in their apo (ligand-free) and ligand-bound forms, shedding light on the molecular mechanism underlying the transport process and drug binding.

Original languageEnglish
Article number70
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
StatePublished - 19 Feb 2020


  • hydrogen-deuterium exchanger
  • mass spectrometry
  • membrane proteins
  • secondary transport
  • structural dynamics


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