Cells need to communicate with their environment in order to obtain nutrients, grow, divide and respond to signals related to adaptation in changing physiological conditions or stress. A very basic question in biology is how cells, especially of those organisms living in rapidly changing habitats, sense their environment. Apparently, this question is of particular importance to all free-living microorganisms. The critical role of receptors, transporters and channels, transmembrane proteins located in the plasma membrane of all types of cells, in signaling environmental changes is well established. A relative newcomer in environment sensing are the so called transceptors, membrane proteins that possess both solute transport and receptor-like signaling activities. Now, the transceptor concept is further enlarged to include micronutrient sensing via the iron and zinc high-affinity transporters of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Interestingly, what seems to underline the transport and/or sensing function of receptors, transporters and transceptors is ligand-induced conformational alterations recognized by downstream intracellular effectors.
Diallinas, G. (2017). Transceptors as a functional link of transporters and receptors. Microbial Cell, 4(3), 69–73. https://doi.org/10.15698/mic2017.03.560