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On the Evolution of Specificity in Members of the Yeast Amino Acid Transporter Family as Parts of Specific Metabolic Pathways

Microbial Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Institute of Biosciences and Applications (IBE), National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos” (NCSRD), Patr. Grigoriou E & 27 Neapoleos St., 15341 Agia Paraskevi, Greece
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Present address: Molecular Physiology of the Cell, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), IBMM, 6041 Gosselies, Belgium.
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(5), 1398; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19051398
Received: 31 March 2018 / Revised: 4 May 2018 / Accepted: 5 May 2018 / Published: 8 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amino Acids Transport and Metabolism)
In the recent years, molecular modeling and substrate docking, coupled with biochemical and genetic analyses have identified the substrate-binding residues of several amino acid transporters of the yeast amino acid transporter (YAT) family. These consist of (a) residues conserved across YATs that interact with the invariable part of amino acid substrates and (b) variable residues that interact with the side chain of the amino acid substrate and thus define specificity. Secondary structure sequence alignments showed that the positions of these residues are conserved across YATs and could thus be used to predict the specificity of YATs. Here, we discuss the potential of combining molecular modeling and structural alignments with intra-species phylogenetic comparisons of transporters, in order to predict the function of uncharacterized members of the family. We additionally define some orphan branches which include transporters with potentially novel, and to be characterized specificities. In addition, we discuss the particular case of the highly specific l-proline transporter, PrnB, of Aspergillus nidulans, whose gene is part of a cluster of genes required for the utilization of proline as a carbon and/or nitrogen source. This clustering correlates with transcriptional regulation of these genes, potentially leading to the efficient coordination of the uptake of externally provided l-Pro via PrnB and its enzymatic degradation in the cell. View Full-Text
Keywords: YAT; APC; amino acids; l-proline; prn cluster; Area; CreA; transcriptional regulation YAT; APC; amino acids; l-proline; prn cluster; Area; CreA; transcriptional regulation
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Gournas, C.; Athanasopoulos, A.; Sophianopoulou, V. On the Evolution of Specificity in Members of the Yeast Amino Acid Transporter Family as Parts of Specific Metabolic Pathways. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 1398.

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