The oligopeptide transporter (OPT) family of peptide and iron-siderophore transporters includes members from both prokaryotes and eukaryotes but with restricted distribution in the latter domain. Eukaryotic members were found only in fungi and plants with a single slime mold homologue clustering with the fungal proteins. All functionally characterized eukaryotic peptide transporters segregate from the known iron-siderophore transporters on a phylogenetic tree. Prokaryotic members are widespread, deriving from many different phyla. Although they belong only to the iron-siderophore subdivision, genome context analyses suggest that many of them are peptide transporters. OPT family proteins have 16 or occasionally 17 transmembrane-spanning α-helical segments (TMSs). We provide statistical evidence that the 16-TMS topology arose via three sequential duplication events followed by a gene-fusion event for proteins with a seventeenth TMS. The proposed pathway is as follows: 2 TMSs → 4 TMSs → 8 TMSs → 16 TMSs → 17 TMSs. The seventeenth C-terminal TMS, which probably arose just once, is found in just one phylogenetic group of these homologues. Analyses for orthology revealed that a few phylogenetic clusters consist exclusively of orthologues but most have undergone intermixing, suggestive of horizontal transfer. It appears that in this family horizontal gene transfer was frequent among prokaryotes, rare among eukaryotes and largely absent between prokaryotes and eukaryotes as well as between plants and fungi. These observations provide guides for future structural and functional analyses of OPT family members.
The Journal of Membrane Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 24, 2011
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