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Eur J Biochem. 1994 Feb 1;219(3):953-60.

Evolutionary relationships among pyridoxal-5'-phosphate-dependent enzymes. Regio-specific alpha, beta and gamma families.

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Biochemisches Institut, Universit├Ąt Z├╝rich, Switzerland.


Pyridoxal-5'-phosphate-dependent enzymes catalyze manifold reactions in the metabolism of amino acids. A comprehensive comparison of amino acid sequences has shown that most of these enzymes can be assigned to one of three different families of homologous proteins. The sequences of the enzymes of each family were aligned and their homology confirmed by profile analysis. Scrutiny of the reactions catalyzed by the enzymes showed that their affiliation with one of the three structurally defined families correlates in most cases with their regio-specificity. In the largest family, the covalency changes of the substrate occur at the same carbon atom that carries the amino group forming the imine linkage with the coenzyme. This family was thus named alpha family. It comprises glycine hydroxymethyltransferase, glycine C-acetyltransferase, 5-aminolevulinate synthase, 8-amino-7-oxononanoate synthase, all aminotransferases (with the possible exception of subgroup III), a number of other enzymes relatively closely related with the aminotransferases and very likely a certain group of amino acid decarboxylases as well as tryptophanase and tyrosine phenol-lyase which, however, catalyze beta-elimination reactions. The beta family includes L- and D-serine dehydratase, threonine dehydratase, the beta subunit of tryptophan synthase, threonine synthase and cysteine synthase. These enzymes catalyze beta-replacement or beta-elimination reactions. The gamma family incorporates O-succinylhomoserine (thiol-lyase, O-acetylhomoserine (thiol)-lyase, and cystathionine gamma-lyase, which catalyze gamma-replacement or gamma-elimination reactions, as well as cystathionine beta-lyase. The alpha and gamma family might be distantly related with one another, but are clearly not homologous with the beta family. Apparently, the primordial pyridoxal-5'-phosphate-dependent enzymes were regio-specific catalysts, which first specialized for reaction specificity and then for substrate specificity. The following pyridoxal-5'-phosphate-dependent enzymes seem to be unrelated with the alpha, beta or gamma family by the criterion of profile analysis:alanine racemase, selenocysteine synthase, and many amino acid decarboxylases. These enzymes may represent yet other families of B6 enzymes.

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