Molecular Biology and Evolution vol:26 issue:11 pages:2407-2414
The discovery of nutrient transceptors, transporter-like proteins with a receptor function, Suggests that receptors for chemical signals may have been derived in evolution from nutrient transporters. Several examples are now available of nutrient transporters with an additional nutrient signaling function, nutrient receptors with a transporter-like sequence and structure but without transport capacity, and G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) that have nutrients as ligands. Recent results have revealed that transceptor signaling requires a specific ligand-induced conformational change, which indicates that transceptors function in a similar way as regular receptors. Advanced bioinformatic analysis for detection of homology in distantly related proteins identifies the nontransporting glucose transceptor Rgt2 as the closest homologue of the glucose-sensing GPCR Gprl in yeast. This supports an intermediate position for nutrient transceptors in evolution, between nutrient transporters and classical receptors for chemical signals.