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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jul 15, 1992; 89(14): 6328–6332.

Mutational and nucleotide sequence analysis of S-adenosyl-L-homocysteine hydrolase from Rhodobacter capsulatus.


The genetic locus ahcY, encoding the enzyme S-adenosyl-L-homocysteine hydrolase (EC from the bacterium Rhodobacter capsulatus, has been mapped by mutational analysis to within a cluster of genes involved in regulating the induction and maintenance of the bacterial photosynthetic apparatus. Sequence analysis demonstrates that ahcY encodes a 51-kDa polypeptide that displays 64% sequence identity to its human homolog. Insertion mutants in ahcY lack detectable S-adenosyl-L-homocysteine hydrolase activity and, as a consequence, S-adenosyl-L-homocysteine accumulates in the cells, resulting in a 16-fold decrease in the intracellular ratio of S-adenosyl-L-methionine to S-adenosyl-L-homocysteine as compared to wild-type cells. The ahcY disrupted strain fails to grow in minimal medium; however, growth is restored in minimal medium supplemented with methionine or homocysteine or in a complex medium, thereby indicating that the hydrolysis of S-adenosyl-L-homocysteine plays a key role in the metabolism of sulfur-containing amino acids. The ahcY mutant, when grown in supplemented medium, synthesizes significantly reduced levels of bacteriochlorophyll, indicating that modulation of the intracellular ratio of S-adenosyl-L-methionine to S-adenosyl-L-homocysteine may be an important factor in regulating bacteriochlorophyll biosynthesis.

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