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Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2006 Oct;10(5):492-7. Epub 2006 Aug 28.

Evolution of enzyme superfamilies.

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Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


Enzyme evolution is often constrained by aspects of catalysis. Sets of homologous proteins that catalyze different overall reactions but share an aspect of catalysis, such as a common partial reaction, are called mechanistically diverse superfamilies. The common mechanistic steps and structural characteristics of several of these superfamilies, including the enolase, Nudix, amidohydrolase, and haloacid dehalogenase superfamilies have been characterized. In addition, studies of mechanistically diverse superfamilies are helping to elucidate mechanisms of functional diversification, such as catalytic promiscuity. Understanding how enzyme superfamilies evolve is vital for accurate genome annotation, predicting protein functions, and protein engineering.

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