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FEBS Lett. 2002 Apr 24;517(1-3):1-6.

Evolutionary relationship between the bacterial HPr kinase and the ubiquitous PEP-carboxykinase: expanding the P-loop nucleotidyl transferase superfamily.

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Structural and Computational Biology Programme, EMBL, Heidelberg, Germany.


Similarities between protein three-dimensional structures can reveal evolutionary and functional relationships not apparent from sequence comparison alone. Here we report such a similarity between the metabolic enzymes histidine phosphocarrier protein kinase (HPrK) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PCK), suggesting that they are evolutionarily related. Current structure classifications place PCK and other P-loop containing nucleotidyl-transferases into different folds. Our comparison of both HPrK and PCK to other P-loop containing proteins reveals that all share a common structural motif consisting of an alphabeta segment containing the P-loop flanked by an additional beta-strand that is adjacent in space, but far apart along the sequence. Analysis also shows that HPrK/PCK differ from other P-loop containing structures no more than they differ from each other. We thus suggest that HPrK and PCK should be classified with other P-loop containing proteins, and that all probably share a common ancestor that probably contained a simple P-loop motif with different protein segments being added or lost over the course of evolution. We used the structure-based sequence alignment containing residues specific to HPrK/PCK to identify additional members of this P-loop containing family.

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