The major facilitator superfamily

Milton H. Saier, J. Thomas Beatty, Andre Goffeau, Kevin T. Harley, Wilbert H. M. Heijne, Su Chi Huang, Donald L. Jack, Peter S. Jähn, Katharine Lew, Jia Liu, Stephanie S. Pao, Ian T. Paulsen, Tsai Tien Tseng, Pritbir S. Virk

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

427 Citations (Scopus)


In 1998 we updated earlier descriptions of the largest family of secondary transport carriers found in living organisms, the major facilitator superfamily (MFS). Seventeen families of transport proteins were shown to comprise this superfamily. We here report expansion of the MFS to include 29 established families as well as five probable families. Structural, functional, and mechanistic features of the constituent permeases are described, and each newly identified family is shown to exhibit specificity for a single class of substrates. Phylogenetic analyses define the evolutionary relationships of the members of each family to each other, and multiple alignments allow definition of family-specific signature sequences as well as all well-conserved sequence motifs. The work described serves to update previous publications and allows extrapolation of structural, functional and mechanistic information obtained with any one member of the superfamily to other members with limitations determined by the degrees of sequence divergence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-279
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Erratum can be found in Journal of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, 2(2), p. 255, 2000.


Dive into the research topics of 'The major facilitator superfamily'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this