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A new sub-class of binding protein-dependent transporter with specificity for a broad range of polar amino acids has been identified by sequence comparison, in Rhizobium leguminosarum, Rhodobacter capsulatus, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas fluorescens. Southern blotting and PCR analysis has shown that transporters from this new sub-class are widely distributed in Gram-negative bacteria, including, in addition to the above, Citrobacter freundii, Erwinia carotovorum and Rhizobium meliloti. ABC transporters of polar amino acids can be divided into two groups: those with narrow solute specificity and the newly identified sub-class with broad solute specificity. The binding and inner membrane proteins from transporters with a broad solute specificity are larger by approximately 30% than those with a narrow solute specificity. Multiple alignment of the inner membrane proteins from all sequenced polar amino acid transporters indicates there is an N-terminal conserved region that may be involved in solute specificity. A conserved arginine or lysine at residue 30 of this region is changed to glutamate in arginine transporters. Residue 53 also has a strong correlation with the charge on the transported solute, with basic amino acid transporters replacing an aliphatic amino acid at this position with a negatively charged amino acid. The general amino acid permease from R. leguminosarum, which will transport aliphatic as well as basic and acidic amino acids, juxtaposes two prolines at residues 52 and 53 of the N-terminal conserved region.


Journal article



Publication Date





397 - 401


ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters, Amino Acid Sequence, Bacteria, Citrobacter freundii, Conserved Sequence, Erwinia, Escherichia coli, Molecular Sequence Data, Protein Conformation, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Rhizobium leguminosarum, Rhodobacter capsulatus, Sequence Alignment, Sequence Homology, Amino Acid, Sinorhizobium meliloti, Solubility, Solvents