The ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters are one of the major classes of active transporters. They are widespread in archaea, bacteria, and eukaryota, indicating that they have arisen early in evolution. They are involved in many essential physiological processes, but the majority import or export a wide variety of compounds across cellular membranes. These systems share a common architecture composed of four (exporters) or five (importers) domains. To identify and reconstruct functional ABC transporters encoded by archaeal and bacterial genomes, we have developed a bioinformatic strategy. Cross-reference to the transport classification system is used to predict the type of compound transported. A high quality of annotation is achieved by manual verification of the predictions. However, in order to face the rapid increase in the number of published genomes, we also include analyses of genomes issuing directly from the automated strategy. Querying the database (http://www-abcdb.biotoul.fr) allows to easily retrieve ABC transporter repertories and related data. Additional query tools have been developed for the analysis of the ABC family from both functional and evolutionary perspectives.
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