2.A.95 The 6 TMS Neutral Amino Acid Transporter (NAAT) Family

A gene encoding a small neutral amino acid transporter was cloned from the genome of the hyperthermophilic archaeon Thermococcus sp. KS-1.  The cloned gene, snatA, encodes a protein of 216 amino acid residues, SnatA, with six membrane-spanning segments. E. coli AK430 cells transformed with snatA transported glycine with an apparent K(t) value of 24 μM. Competition studies indicated that SnatA transports various L-type neutral amino acids.  Glycine transport is inhibited by a protonophore, FCCP, or valinomycin plus nigericin, indicating that the process is dependent on an electrochemical potential of H+.(Akahane et al. 2003).

MarC is encoded by a gene at the multiple antibiotic resistance (mar) locus. The mar locus consists of two divergently positioned transcriptional units that flank the operator, marO, in both E. coli and Salmonella typhimurium. One transcription unit encodes MarC, an integral inner membrane protein with 6 established TMSs with the N- and C-termini in the cytoplasm (Drew et al., 2002). Its function is unknown. The other unit consists of an operon, marRAB, encoding (1) the MarR repressor which binds marO and negatively regulates marRAB expression, (2) MarA, a transcriptional activator that activates expression of other genes such as acrAB (encoding the principal E. coli multidrug efflux pump of the RND superfamily (TC #2.A.6.2)) and the mar regulon itself, and (3) MarB, a small protein of 71 amino acyl residues of unknown function. A periplasmic binding protein, MppA, essential for the uptake of the cell wall murein tripeptide, L-alanyl-γ-D-glutamyl-meso-diaminopimelate via the Opp permease, regulates mar regulon expression. Loss of MppA causes overproduction of MarA which activates acrAB, causing pleiotropic drug resistance. MppA probably functions upstream of MarA in a signal transduction pathway that negatively controls expression of the marRAB operon.

Homologues of MarC are found in numerous Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria including many human pathogens. Several archaea also encode MarC homologues. Some of these organisms have 2 or more paralogues. Most of these proteins are of about the same size (180-230 aas) although a few are larger. They exhibit 6 (or in some cases, possibly 5) putative TMSs.

The generalized reaction catalyzed by SnatA is:

Amino acid (in) → Amino acid (out)

This family belongs to the LysE Superfamily.



Akahane, S., H. Kamata, H. Yagisawa, and H. Hirata. (2003). A novel neutral amino acid transporter from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Thermococcus sp. KS-1. J Biochem 133: 173-180.

Carruthers, M.D., B.H. Bellaire, and F.C. Minion. (2010). Exploring the response of Escherichia coli O157:H7 EDL933 within Acanthamoeba castellanii by genome-wide transcriptional profiling. FEMS Microbiol. Lett. 312: 15-23.

Drew, D., D. Sjöstrand, J. Nilsson, T. Urbig, C.N. Chin, J.W. de Gier, and G. von Heijne. (2002). Rapid topology mapping of Escherichia coli inner-membrane proteins by prediction and PhoA/GFP fusion analysis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99: 2690-2695.

Li, H. and J.T. Park. (1999). The periplasmic murein peptide-binding protein MppA is a negative regulator of multiple antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli. J. Bacteriol. 181: 4842-4847.

McDermott, P.F., L.M. McMurry, I. Podglajen, J.L. Dzink-Fox, T. Schneiders, M.P. Draper, and S.B. Levy. (2008). The marC gene of Escherichia coli is not involved in multiple antibiotic resistance. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 52: 382-383.


TC#NameOrganismal TypeExample

MarC or YdeB of 221 aas and 6 TMSs. The role of MarC in MDR is controversial (McDermott et al., 2008).  It may function in conjunction with YdeA, an MFS pump (TC# 2.A.1.2.15) (Zakataeva et al. 2006).


MarC of E. coli (P0AEY1)


Hypothetical protein, PHBW009


PHBW009 of Pyrococcus horikoshii

2.A.95.1.3The hypothtical YvbC protein


YvbC of Bacillus subtilis (O32244)


The SnatA carrier. Transports glycine, L-alanine, L-serine, L-threonine and a variety of neutral L-amino acids (216 aas; 6 TMSs; Akahane et al., 2003)

ArchaeaSnatA of Thermococcus sp. KS-1 (JC7930 or Q8J305)

Putative multiple antibiotic resistance protein C homologue, YhgN (Carruthers et al. 2010)


YhgN of E. coli (P67143)


MarC homologue encoded in an operon with a serine tRNA synthase, serine biosynthetic enzymes, a peptidase and a possible serine exporter (2.A.7.21.9).  May be a peptide uptake system.


Putative peptide uptake system of Deferribacter desulfuricans


Putative amino acid transporter, YchE, of 215 aas


YchE of E. coli


MarC homologue of 216 aas


MarC of Cyanothece sp.