Yeast beta-alanine synthase shares a structural scaffold and origin with dizinc-dependent exopeptidases

S. Lundgren, Zoran Gojkovic, Jure Piskur, D. Dobritzsch

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    beta-Alanine synthase (betaAS) is the final enzyme of the reductive pyrimidine catabolic pathway, which is responsible for the breakdown of pyrimidine bases, including several anticancer drugs. In eukaryotes, betaASs belong to two subfamilies, which exhibit a low degree of sequence similarity. We determined the structure of betaAS from Saccharomyces kluyveri to a resolution of 2.7 Angstrom. The subunit of the homodimeric enzyme consists of two domains: a larger catalytic domain with a dizinc metal center, which represents the active site of betaAS, and a smaller domain mediating the majority of the intersubunit contacts. Both domains exhibit a mixed alpha/beta-topology. Surprisingly, the observed high structural homology to a family of dizinc-dependent exopeptidases suggests that these two enzyme groups have a common origin. Alterations in the ligand composition of the metal-binding site can be explained as adjustments to the catalysis of a different reaction, the hydrolysis of an N-carbamyl bond by betaAS compared with the hydrolysis of a peptide bond by exopeptidases. In contrast, there is no resemblance to the three-dimensional structure of the functionally closely related N-carbamyl-D-amino acid amidohydrolases. Based on comparative structural analysis and observed deviations in the backbone conformations of the eight copies of the subunit in the asymmetric unit, we suggest that conformational changes occur during each catalytic cycle.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
    Issue number51
    Pages (from-to)51851-51862
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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