The multidrug/oligosaccharidyl-lipid/polysaccharide (MOP) exporter superfamily

Eur J Biochem. 2003 Mar;270(5):799-813. doi: 10.1046/j.1432-1033.2003.03418.x.


The multidrug/oligosaccharidyl-lipid/polysaccharide (MOP) exporter superfamily (TC #2.A.66) consists of four previously recognized families: (a) the ubiquitous multi-drug and toxin extrusion (MATE) family; (b) the prokaryotic polysaccharide transporter (PST) family; (c) the eukaryotic oligosaccharidyl-lipid flippase (OLF) family and (d) the bacterial mouse virulence factor family (MVF). Of these four families, only members of the MATE family have been shown to function mechanistically as secondary carriers, and no member of the MVF family has been shown to function as a transporter. Establishment of a common origin for the MATE, PST, OLF and MVF families suggests a common mechanism of action as secondary carriers catalyzing substrate/cation antiport. Most protein members of these four families exhibit 12 putative transmembrane alpha-helical segments (TMSs), and several have been shown to have arisen by an internal gene duplication event; topological variation is observed for some members of the superfamily. The PST family is more closely related to the MATE, OLF and MVF families than any of these latter three families are related to each other. This fact leads to the suggestion that primordial proteins most closely related to the PST family were the evolutionary precursors of all members of the MOP superfamily. Here, phylogenetic trees and average hydropathy, similarity and amphipathicity plots for members of the four families are derived and provide detailed evolutionary and structural information about these proteins. We show that each family exhibits unique characteristics. For example, the MATE and PST families are characterized by numerous paralogues within a single organism (58 paralogues of the MATE family are present in Arabidopsis thaliana), while the OLF family consists exclusively of orthologues, and the MVF family consists primarily of orthologues. Only in the PST family has extensive lateral transfer of the encoding genes occurred, and in this family as well as the MVF family, topological variation is a characteristic feature. The results serve to define a large superfamily of transporters that we predict function to export substrates using a monovalent cation antiport mechanism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligosaccharides / metabolism*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations