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J Mol Evol. 1995 Dec;41(6):760-74.

Molecular evolution of the histidine biosynthetic pathway.

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Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e Genetica, Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy.


The available sequences of genes encoding the enzymes associated with histidine biosynthesis suggest that this is an ancient metabolic pathway that was assembled prior to the diversification of the Bacteria, Archaea, and Eucarya. Paralogous duplications, gene elongation, and fusion events involving different his genes have played a major role in shaping this biosynthetic route. Evidence that the hisA and the hisF genes and their homologous are the result of two successive duplication events that apparently took place before the separation of the three cellular lineages is extended. These two successive gene duplication events as well as the homology between the hisH genes and the sequences encoding the TrpG-type amidotransferases support the idea that during the early stages of metabolic evolution at least parts of the histidine biosynthetic pathway were mediated by enzymes of broader substrate specificities. Maximum likelihood trees calculated for the available sequences of genes encoding these enzymes have been obtained. Their topologies support the possibility of an evolutionary proximity of archaebacteria with low GC Gram-positive bacteria. This observation is consistent with those detected by other workers using the sequences of heat-shock proteins (HSP70), glutamine synthetases, glutamate dehydrogenases, and carbamoylphosphate synthetases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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