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J Mol Biol. 2012 Nov 9;423(5):831-46. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2012.08.013. Epub 2012 Aug 27.

Conservation of functionally important global motions in an enzyme superfamily across varying quaternary structures.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA.


The α-d-phosphohexomutase superfamily comprises enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism that are found in all kingdoms of life. Recent biophysical studies have shown for the first time that several of these enzymes exist as dimers in solution, prompting an examination of the oligomeric state of all proteins of known structure in the superfamily (11 different proteins; 31 crystal structures) via computational and experimental analyses. We find that these proteins range in quaternary structure from monomers to tetramers, with 6 of the 11 known structures being likely oligomers. The oligomeric state of these proteins not only is associated in some cases with enzyme subgroup (i.e., substrate specificity) but also appears to depend on domain of life, with the two archaeal proteins existing as higher-order oligomers. Within the oligomers, three distinct interfaces are observed, one of which is found in both archaeal and bacterial proteins. Normal mode analysis shows that the topological arrangement of the oligomers permits domain 4 of each protomer to move independently as required for catalysis. Our analysis suggests that the advantages associated with protein flexibility in this enzyme family are of sufficient importance to be maintained during the evolution of multiple independent oligomers. This study is one of the first showing that global motions may be conserved not only within protein families but also across members of a superfamily with varying oligomeric structures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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