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J Biol Chem. 1990 Jun 25;265(18):10395-402.

Mammalian carbamyl phosphate synthetase (CPS). DNA sequence and evolution of the CPS domain of the Syrian hamster multifunctional protein CAD.

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Department of Biochemistry, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan 48201.


Glutamine-dependent carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase (EC catalyzes the first step in de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis. The mammalian enzyme is part of a 240-kDa multifunctional protein which also has the second (aspartate carbamoyltransferase, EC, and third (dihydroorotase, EC activities of the pathway. Shigesada et al. (Shigesada, K., Stark, G.R., Maley, J.A., and Davidson, J.N. (1985) Mol. Cell Biol. 175, 1-7) produced a truncated cDNA clone from a Syrian hamster cell line that contained most of the coding region for this protein. We have completed sequencing this clone, known as pCAD142. The cDNA insert contained all of the coding region for the glutaminase (GLN) and carbamyl phosphate synthetase (CPS) domains but lacked a short amino-terminal segment. By comparing the primary structure of the mammalian chimera to monofunctional proteins we have identified the borders of the functional domains. The GLN domain is 21 kDa, close to the size of the functionally similar polypeptide products of the Escherichia coli pabA and hisH genes. The domain has the three regions of homology common to trpG-type glutamine amidotransferases, as well as a fourth region specific to the carbamyl phosphate synthetases. The CPSase domain is similar to other reported CPSases in size (120 kDa), primary structure (37-67% amino acid identity), and homology between its amino and carboxyl halves. Analysis of the nucleotide and amino acid sequence identities among the various carbamyl phosphate synthetases suggests that the gene fusion which joined the GLN and CPS domains was an early event in the evolution of eukaryotic organisms and that the Saccharomyces cerevisiae enzyme consisting of separate subunits arose by defusion from an ancestral multifunctional protein.

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