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Bioinformation. 2019 Feb 28;15(2):151-159. doi: 10.6026/97320630015151. eCollection 2019.

Computational classification of MocR transcriptional regulators into subgroups as a support for experimental and functional characterization.

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Structural bioinformatics and Molecular modelling Lab;Dipartimento di Scienze biochimiche;Sapienza Universita di Roma;00185 Roma,Italy.


MocR bacterial transcriptional regulators are a subfamily within the GntR family. The MocR proteins possess an N-terminal domain containing the winged Helix-Turn-Helix (wHTH) motif and a C-terminal domain whose architecture is homologous to the fold type-I pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP) dependent enzymes and whose archetypical protein is aspartate aminotransferase (AAT). The ancestor of the fold type-I PLP dependent super-family is considered one of the earliest enzymes. The members of this super-family are the product of evolution which resulted in a diversified protein population able to catalyze a set of reactions on substrates often containing amino groups. The MocR regulators are activators or repressors of gene control within many metabolic pathways often involving PLP enzymes. This diversity implies that MocR specifically responds to different classes of effector molecules. Therefore, it is of interest to compare the AAT domains of MocR from six bacteria phyla. Multi dimensional scaling and cluster analyses suggested that at least three subgroups exist within the population that reflects functional specialization rather than taxonomic origin. The AAT-domains of the three clusters display variable degree of similarity to different fold type-I PLP enzyme families. The results support the hypothesis that independent fusion events generated at least three different MocR subgroups.


Aspartate aminotransferase; Cluster analysis; MocR; Multidimensional scaling analysis; Pyridoxal 5'-phosphate; Structural bioinformatics

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