The ZIP (Zrt/Irt-like protein) family of zinc transporters is found in all three domains of life. However, little is known about the phylogenetic relationship amongst ZIP transporters, their distribution, or their origin. Here we employed phylogenetic analysis to explore the evolution of ZIP transporters, with a focus on the major human fungal pathogen, Candida albicans. Pan-domain analysis of bacterial, archaeal, fungal, and human proteins revealed a complex relationship amongst the ZIP family members. Here we report (i) a eukaryote-wide group of cellular zinc importers, (ii) a fungal-specific group of zinc importers having genetic association with the fungal zincophore, and, (iii) a pan-kingdom supercluster made up of two distinct subgroups with orthologues in bacterial, archaeal, and eukaryotic phyla.
- pathogenic fungi
- Candida albicans