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Glutamate Decarboxylase: Computer Studies of Enzyme Evolution

B. S. Sukhareva* and O. K. Mamaeva

Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Vavilova 32, Moscow, 119991 Russia; fax: (095) 135-1405; E-mail: suhareva@eimb.ru

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received April 19, 2002; Revision received June 5, 2002
The homology of subunit primary sequence of 40 glutamate decarboxylases (GAD) of different origin was analyzed by multiple alignment. A phylogenetic tree was designed on the basis of the resulting data. The following groups are distinguished in the consensus tree: archeans, bacteria, plant eukaryotes, and animal eukaryotes. The latter are clearly divided into two branches according to two enzyme isoforms. Borders of PLP domains in each enzyme were detected. The consensus phylogenetic tree for PLP domains is structurally rather similar to that obtained for subunits. Twenty homologous motifs of from 15 to 87 amino acid residues were revealed in all GAD studied. The results revealed the division of all of the enzymes into groups with characteristic sets of motifs in each and a fixed order of their arrangement along the sequence. Thus, we can show the divergent evolution of the enzyme. The results of multiple alignments during structural analysis of the 40 GAD confirmed and extended our previous data on conserved residues that arrange the position of the coenzyme (PLP) in the enzyme active center. The following residues should be noted: lysine forming a Schiff base with the PLP aldehyde group, an adjacent histidine, and aspartic acid that establishes a link with nitrogen of the PLP pyridine ring. The homology of the primary sequence fragments was also found in the residues in contact with the PLP phosphate group. Comparison of the GAD amino acid sequence with that of another PLP enzyme, aspartate aminotransferase, revealed a binding site for carboxylic group of the substrate--glutamic acid. The structures carrying out a particular catalytic function of all GAD studied were detected, i.e., convergent evolution of the enzyme was revealed.
KEY WORDS: glutamate decarboxylase, pyridoxal phosphate, phylogeny, conserved residues, divergent and convergent evolution