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J Biol Chem. 1985 Dec 15;260(29):15840-9.

Immunochemical analysis of the domain structure of CAD, the multifunctional protein that initiates pyrimidine biosynthesis in mammalian cells.


CAD, is a multidomain polypeptide, with a molecular weight of over 200,000, that has glutamine-dependent carbamyl-phosphate synthetase, aspartate transcarbamylase, and dihydroorotase activity as well as regulatory sites that bind UTP and 5-phosphoribosyl 1-pyrophosphate. The protein thus catalyzes the first three steps of de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis and controls the activity of the pathway in higher eukaryotes. Controlled proteolysis of CAD isolated from Syrian hamster cells, cleaves the molecule into seven major proteolytic fragments that contain one or more of the functional domains. The two smallest fragments, which had molecular weights of 44,000 and 40,000, corresponded to the fully active dihydroorotase (DHO) and aspartate transcarbamylase (ATC) domains, respectively, but the larger fragments have not been previously characterized. In this study, enzymatic assays of partially fractionated digests and immunoblotting with antibodies specifically directed against the purified ATC domain, the purified dihydroorotase domain and an 80-kDa fragment of the putative carbamyl-phosphate synthetase domain established the precursor-product relationships among all of the major proteolytic fragments of CAD. These results indicate that 1) only the intact molecule had all of the functional domains, 2) a species with a molecular weight of 200,000 was produced in the first step of proteolysis which had glutamine-dependent carbamyl-phosphate synthetase and dihydroorotase activity, but neither aspartate transcarbamylase activity nor the antigenic determinants present on the isolated ATC domain, and 3) cleavage of the 200-kDa species produced a species, with a molecular mass of 150,000 which lacked both aspartate transcarbamylase and dihydroorotase domains. This 150-kDa species, containing the postulated carbamyl-phosphate synthetase, glutamine, and regulatory (UTP, 5-phosphoribosyl 1-pyrophosphate) domains, had two elastase-sensitive sites that divided this region of the polypeptide chain into 10-, 65-, and 80-kDa segments. The location of the functional sites on these segments has not yet been established. The immunochemical analysis also revealed the existence of possible precursors of the stable aspartate transcarbamylase and dihydroorotase domains, suggesting that the chain segments connecting the functional domains of CAD are extensive and that the overall size of the intact polypeptide chain has been underestimated. On the basis of these studies we have proposed a model of the domain structure of CAD.

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