A novel family of ubiquitous heavy metal ion transport proteins

I. T. Paulsen, M. H. Saier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

314 Citations (Scopus)


We describe a novel diverse family of metal ion transporter (CDF) proteins (the cation diffusion facilitator (CDF) family) with members occurring in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Thirteen sequenced protein members of the CDF family have been identified, several of which have been shown to transport cobalt, cadmium and/or zinc. All members of the CDF family possess six putative transmembrane spanners with strongest conservation in the four N-terminal spanners, and on the basis of the analyses, we present a unified structural model. Members of the family are shown to exhibit an unusual degree of size variation, sequence divergence, and differences in cell localization and polarity. The phylogenetic tree for the CDF family reveals that prokaryotic and eukaryotic proteins cluster separately. It allows functional predictions for some uncharacterized members of this family. A signature sequence specific for the CDF family is derived.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-103
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Membrane Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Cadmium
  • Cobalt
  • Efflux
  • Membrane proteins
  • Phylogenetic analysis
  • pmf
  • Transport
  • Uptake
  • Zinc


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