P4 ATPase lipid flippases are ATP-driven transporters that translocate specific lipids from the exoplasmic to the cytosolic leaflet of biological membranes, thus establishing a lipid gradient between the two leaflets that is essential for many cellular processes. While substrate specificity, subcellular and tissue-specific expression, and physiological functions have been assigned to a number of these transporters in several organisms, the mechanism of lipid transport has been a topic of intense debate in the field. The recent publication of a series of structural models based on X-ray crystallography and cryo-EM studies has provided the first glimpse into how P4 ATPases have adapted the transport mechanism used by the cation-pumping family members to accommodate a substrate that is at least an order of magnitude larger than cations.

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