An expanding role for purine uptake permease-like transporters in plant secondary metabolism
Jelesko, John G.
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For the past decade, our understanding of the plant purine uptake permease (PUP) transporter family was primarily oriented on purine nucleobase substrates and their tissue-specific expression patterns in Arabidopsis. However, a tobacco PUP-like homolog demonstrating nicotine uptake permease activity was recently shown to affect both nicotine metabolism and root cell growth. These new findings expand the physiological role for PUP-like transporters to include plant secondary metabolism. Molecular evolution analyses of PUP-like transporters indicate they are distinct group within an ancient super family of drug and metabolite transporters (DMTs). The PUP-like family originated during terrestrial plant evolution sometime between the bryophytes and the lycophytes. A phylogenetic analysis indicates that the PUP-like transporters were likely derived from a pre-existing nucleotide-sugar transporter family within the DMT super family. Within the lycophyte Selaginella, there are three paralogous groups of PUP-like transporters. One of the three PUP-like paralogous groups showed an extensive pattern of gene duplication and diversification within the angiosperm lineage, whereas the more ancestral PUP-like paralogous groups did not. Biochemical characterization of four closely related PUP-like paralogs together with model-based phylogenetic analyses indicate both subfunctionalization and neofunctionalization during the molecular evolution of angiosperm PUP-like transporters. These findings suggest that members of the PUP-like family of DMT transporters are likely involved in diverse primary and secondary plant metabolic pathways.