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Life on the salvage path: the deoxynucleoside kinase of Lactobacillus acidophilus R-26.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210, USA.


In Lactobacillus acidophilus R-26, the synthesis of DNA precursor deoxynucleotides occurs exclusively by salvage of deoxynucleosides, beginning with phosphorylation by four deoxynucleoside kinases. Subunits bearing three of these activities are uniquely organized into two heterodimers, deoxyadenosine/deoxycytidine kinase (dAK/dCK) and deoxyadenosine/deoxyguanosine kinase (dAK/dGK), which, along with a distinct deoxythymidine kinase (TK), catalyze the parallel first committed steps of dNTP biosynthesis. Whereas TK is common to most prokaryotes (and eukaryotes), the other three activities that are the emphasis of this review are quite unusual in bacteria. Each activity is regulated in cis by its homologous end-product (dNTP) which is understood to act as a multisubstrate inhibitor capable of binding to both nucleoside and phosphate subsites. Conversely, the inactive dAK subunit is progressively activated by 1) association with a dGK or dCK subunit and 2) the conformationally driven heterotropic affect of dGuo or dCyd bound to the opposing subunit. Limited proteolysis has proven to be a powerful probe of conformational states. Further indication of conformational or structural differences between dAK and dGK (or dCK) is that the former follows an ordered kinetic path, while dGK or dCK exhibits rapid-equilibrium random kinetics. The multi-substrate behavior of end-product binding provides a convenient new diagnostic tool for distinguishing kinetic mechanisms. Tandem dak-dgk genes have been cloned from Lactobacillus DNA and expressed in Escherichia coli as dAK/dGK, utilizing the associated promoter. Sequence alignments reveal 65% identity in their DNA and 61% in their derived amino acid sequences. Encoded N-terminal sequences are identical for the first 18 residues, and both subunits share conserved sequences in common with adenylate kinase and viral TK. A more unusual conserved element, which appears to play a role in the activation of dAK, resembles the G2 loop of p21 ras. Remarkably, no homologous gene(s) for the dAK/dCK pair could be found. Comparisons of amino acid sequences, isoelectric pHs and subunit masses strongly indicated that native dCK and dGK are identical in sequence, except at their extreme N-termini (M-IVL for dCK and -TVIVL for dGK), suggesting that processing of a common precursor occurs in Lactobacillus. Accordingly, deletion of codons 2 and 3 from dgk resulted in the expression of dAK/dCK in the E. coli host; its kinetic properties are indistinguishable from those of native dAK/dCK. Subcloning the dgk or engineered dck gene resulted in expression of active dGK or dCK homodimers, each with a virtually unchanged Km toward its primary deoxynucleoside. However, in common with human dCK, dCK (or dGK) homodimer exhibits secondary activities with much larger Kms towards dAdo and dGuo (or dCyd). dCTP (or dGTP) is the best inhibitor of all three activities of the respective homodimer. Fully active heterodimers can be reconstituted simply by mixing a homodimer with independently expressed (inactive) dAK.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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