ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters play an important role in various cellular processes. They display a similar architecture and share a mechanism which couples ATP hydrolysis to substrate transport. However, in the light of current data and recent experimental progress, this protein superfamily appears as multifaceted as their broad substrate range. Among the prokaryotic ABC transporters, MsbA can serve as a paradigm for research in this field. It is located in the inner membrane of Gram-negative bacteria and functions as a floppase for the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) precursor core-LPS, which is involved in the biogenesis of the bacterial outer membrane. While MsbA shows high similarity to eukaryotic ABC transporters, its expression in Gram-negative bacteria makes it conveniently accessible for many experimental approaches from spectroscopy to 3D structure determination. As an essential protein for bacterial membrane integrity, MsbA has also become an attractive target for the development of novel antibiotics. Furthermore, it serves as a model for multidrug efflux pumps. Here we provide an overview of recent findings and their relevance to the field, highlight the potential of methods such as solid-state NMR and EPR spectroscopy and provide a perspective for future work.

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