The movement of drugs across biological membranes is mediated by two major classes of membrane transporters. Primary-active, ABC (ATP-binding cassette) multidrug transporters are dependent on ATP-binding/hydrolysis, whereas secondary-active multidrug transporters are coupled to the proton (or sodium)-motive force that exists across the plasma membrane. Recent work on LmrA, an ABC multidrug transporter in Lactococcus lactis, suggests that primary- and secondary-active multidrug transporters share functional and structural features. Some of these similarities and their implications for the mechanism of transport by ABC multidrug transporters will be discussed.

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