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Protein Sci. 1994 Jul;3(7):1081-8.

Unexpected sequence similarity between nucleosidases and phosphoribosyltransferases of different specificity.

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Department of Plant Pathology, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40546-0091.


Amino acid sequences of enzymes that catalyze hydrolysis or phosphorolysis of the N-glycosidic bond in nucleosides and nucleotides (nucleosidases and phosphoribosyltransferases) were explored using computer methods for database similarity search and multiple alignment. Two new families, each including bacterial and eukaryotic enzymes, were identified. Family I consists of Escherichia coli AMP hydrolase (Amn), uridine phosphorylase (Udp), purine phosphorylase (DeoD), uncharacterized proteins from E. coli and Bacteroides uniformis, and, unexpectedly, a group of plant stress-inducible proteins. It is hypothesized that these plant proteins have evolved from nucleosidases and may possess nucleosidase activity. The proteins in this new family contain 3 conserved motifs, one of which was found also in eukaryotic purine nucleosidases, where it corresponds to the nucleoside-binding site. Family II is comprised of bacterial and eukaryotic thymidine phosphorylases and anthranilate phosphoribosyltransferases, the relationship between which has not been suspected previously. Based on the known tertiary structure of E. coli thymidine phosphorylase, structural interpretation was given to the sequence conservation in this family. The highest conservation is observed in the N-terminal alpha-helical domain, whose exact function is not known. Parts of the conserved active site of thymidine phosphorylases and anthranilate phosphoribosyltransferases were delineated. A motif in the putative phosphate-binding site is conserved in family II and in other phosphoribosyltransferases. Our analysis suggests that certain enzymes of very similar specificity, e.g., uridine and thymidine phosphorylases, could have evolved independently. In contrast, enzymes catalyzing such different reactions as AMP hydrolysis and uridine phosphorolysis or thymidine phosphorolysis and phosphoribosyl anthranilate synthesis are likely to have evolved from common ancestors.

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