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IUBMB Life. 2006 Mar;58(3):133-41.

Evolutionary analysis of fructose 2,6-bisphosphate metabolism.

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Research Unit for Tropical Diseases, Christian de Duve Institute of Cellular Pathology and Laboratory of Biochemistry, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.


Fructose 2,6-bisphosphate is a potent metabolic regulator in eukaryotic organisms; it affects the activity of key enzymes of the glycolytic and gluconeogenic pathways. The enzymes responsible for its synthesis and hydrolysis, 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase (PFK-2) and fructose-2,6-bisphosphatase (FBPase-2) are present in representatives of all major eukaryotic taxa. Results from a bioinformatics analysis of genome databases suggest that very early in evolution, in a common ancestor of all extant eukaryotes, distinct genes encoding PFK-2 and FBPase-2, or related enzymes with broader substrate specificity, fused resulting in a bifunctional enzyme both domains of which had, or later acquired, specificity for fructose 2,6-bisphosphate. Subsequently, in different phylogenetic lineages duplications of the gene of the bifunctional enzyme occurred, allowing the development of distinct isoenzymes for expression in different tissues, at specific developmental stages or under different nutritional conditions. Independently in different lineages of many unicellular eukaryotes one of the domains of the different PFK-2/FBPase-2 isoforms has undergone substitutions of critical catalytic residues, or deletions rendering some enzymes monofunctional. In a considerable number of other unicellular eukaryotes, mainly parasitic organisms, the enzyme seems to have been lost altogether. Besides the catalytic core, the PFK-2/FBPase-2 has often N- and C-terminal extensions which show little sequence conservation. The N-terminal extension in particular can vary considerably in length, and seems to have acquired motifs which, in a lineage-specific manner, may be responsible for regulation of catalytic activities, by phosphorylation or ligand binding, or for mediating protein-protein interactions.

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