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Gene. 2001 Mar 7;265(1-2):95-101.

Molecular evolution of the AMP-forming Acetyl-CoA synthetase.

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Laboratoire Populations, Génétique et Evolution, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 91198 Gif-sur-Yvette, Cedex, France.


Acetyl-CoA-Synthetase (ACS) is involved in the production of acetate, a major metabolite in numerous organisms. There are two forms of this enzyme: ADP-forming ACS and ATP-forming ACS. We focus mainly on the AMP-forming ACS gene, which is relatively well conserved in eubacteria, archeaebacteria, and eukaryotes. BLAST searches in databases showed 30 protein sequences significantly related to the ACS. Most of these sequences were identified as ACS but three of them, belonging to the mammalian species, were annotated as another gene named: the SA gene, which is involved in the essential hypertension. The ACS and SA genes probably derived from a duplication of an ancestral gene but have acquired different functions. Six conserved regions of the ACS protein were defined across the three domains of life. While the precise function of the conserved regions remains unknown, they are probably involved in the enzymatic activity. Among eukaryotes, we found a high variability with respect to the number and the position of introns. However, some positions are conserved between fungi and a nematode. A maximum likelihood tree based upon the conserved regions showed that all sequences except the one from B. subtilis, belong to two basic groups: one the SA-like group including sequences from Archaeoglobus fulgidus and Streptomyces coelicolor, and second, the ACS group. The later can be further divided in two parts: a prokaryotic one including eubacteria and an archaebacterium, and a eukaryotic group within which two proteobacterial sequences branch including ACS from the alpha-proteobacterium Rhodobacter capsulatus. Within the eukaryotic group, bootstrap support is very low, but overall the data are consistent with the view that eukaryotes acquired their ACS gene from the ancestors of mitochondria. The localization of this enzyme in eukaryotic mitochondria is the additional evidence in favor of this interpretation.

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