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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Oct 24, 1995; 92(22): 10089–10093.

Nramp defines a family of membrane proteins.


Nramp (natural resistance-associated macrophage protein) is a newly identified family of integral membrane proteins whose biochemical function is unknown. We report on the identification of Nramp homologs from the fly Drosophila melanogaster, the plant Oryza sativa, and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Optimal alignment of protein sequences required insertion of very few gaps and revealed remarkable sequence identity of 28% (yeast), 40% (plant), and 55% (fly) with the mammalian proteins (46%, 58%, and 73% similarity), as well as a common predicted transmembrane topology. This family is defined by a highly conserved hydrophobic core encoding 10 transmembrane segments. Other features of this hydrophobic core include several invariant charged residues, helical periodicity of sequence conservation suggesting conserved and nonconserved faces for several transmembrane helices, a consensus transport signature on the intracytoplasmic face of the membrane, and structural determinants previously described in ion channels. These characteristics suggest that the Nramp polypeptides form part of a group of transporters or channels that act on as yet unidentified substrates.

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