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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Propionyl-coenzyme A synthase from Chloroflexus aurantiacus, a key enzyme of the 3-hydroxypropionate cycle for autotrophic CO2 fixation.

The 3-hydroxypropionate cycle has been proposed as a new autotrophic CO(2) fixation pathway for the phototrophic green non-sulfur eubacterium Chloroflexus aurantiacus and for some chemotrophic archaebacteria. The cycle requires the reductive conversion of the characteristic intermediate 3-hydroxypropionate to propionyl-CoA. The specific activity of the 3-hydroxypropionate-, CoA-, K(+)-, and MgATP-dependent oxidation of NADPH in autotrophically grown cells was 0.09 micromol min(-1) mg(-1) protein, which was 2-fold down-regulated in heterotrophically grown cells. Unexpectedly, a single enzyme catalyzes the entire reaction sequence: 3-hydroxypropionate + MgATP + CoA + NADPH + H(+) --> propionyl-CoA + MgAMP + PP(i) + NADP(+) + H(2)O. The enzyme was purified 30-fold to near homogeneity and has a very large native molecular mass between 500 and 800 kDa, with subunits of about 185 kDa as judged by SDS-PAGE, suggesting a homotrimeric or homotetrameric structure. Upon incubation of this new enzyme, termed propionyl-CoA synthase, with the proteinase trypsin, the NADPH oxidation function of the enzyme was lost, whereas the enzyme still activated 3-hydroxypropionate to its CoA-thioester and dehydrated it to acrylyl-CoA. SDS-PAGE revealed that the subunits of propionyl-CoA synthase had been cleaved once and the N-terminal amino acid sequences of the two trypsin digestion products were determined. Two parts of the gene encoding propionyl-CoA synthase (pcs) were identified on two contigs of an incomplete genome data base of C. aurantiacus, and the sequence of the pcs gene was completed. Propionyl-CoA synthase is a natural fusion protein of 201 kDa consisting of a CoA ligase, an enoyl-CoA hydratase, and an enoyl-CoA reductase, the reductase domain containing the trypsin cleavage site. Similar polyfunctional large enzymes are common in secondary metabolism (e.g. polyketide synthases) but rare in primary metabolism (e.g. eukaryotic type I fatty acid synthase). These results lend strong support to the operation of the proposed pathway in autotrophic CO(2) fixation.[1]


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