Pendrin shares with nearly all SLC26/SulP anion transporters a carboxy-terminal cytoplasmic segment organized around a Sulfate Transporter and Anti-Sigma factor antagonist (STAS) domain. STAS domains of divergent amino acid sequence exhibit a conserved fold of 4 β strands interspersed among 5 α helices. The first STAS domain proteins studied were single-domain anti-sigma factor antagonists (anti-anti-σ). These anti-anti-σ indirectly stimulate bacterial RNA polymerase by inactivating inhibitory anti-σ kinases, liberating σ factors to direct specific transcription of target genes or operons. Some STAS domains are nucleotide-binding phosphoproteins or nucleotidases. Others are interaction/transduction modules within multidomain sensors of light, oxygen and other gasotransmitters, cyclic nucleotides, inositol phosphates, and G proteins. Additional multidomain STAS protein sequences suggest functions in sensing, metabolism, or transport of nutrients such as sugars, amino acids, lipids, anions, vitamins, or hydrocarbons. Still other multidomain STAS polypeptides include histidine and serine/threonine kinase domains and ligand-activated transcription factor domains. SulP/SLC26 STAS domains and adjacent sequences interact with other transporters, cytoskeletal scaffolds, and with enzymes metabolizing transported anion substrates, forming putative metabolons. STAS domains are central to membrane targeting of many SulP/SLC26 anion transporters, and STAS domain mutations are associated with at least three human recessive diseases. This review summarizes STAS domain structure and function.

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