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

Cloning and expression of rat histidase. Homology to two bacterial histidases and four phenylalanine ammonia-lyases.

Histidase (histidine ammonia-lyase, EC catalyzes the deamination of histidine to urocanic acid. Apart from phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, which is not expressed in animals, histidase is the only enzyme known to have a dehydroalanine residue in its active site. The amino site precursor and the mechanism of formation of dehydroalanine are not known. As an initial step to determining the precursor of dehydroalanine in histidase, we have isolated a functional cDNA clone for histidase from a rat liver cDNA library using an affinity-purified antiserum. The 2.2-kilobase cDNA has a 1,971-base pair open reading frame coding for a 657-amino acid polypeptide with a predicted molecular mass of 72,165 Da. The cDNA has a rare polyadenylation signal (AAUACA) that appears to inefficiently direct polyadenylation in transfected COS monkey kidney cells. Conversion of this sequence to the consensus polyadenylation signal (AAUAAA) resulted in increased levels of stable mRNA. COS cells transfected with a histidase expression vector produce active histidase. The formation of active histidase in cells that have no endogenous histidase activity suggests either that the requisite modifying enzyme is present in these cells or that the dehydroalanine residue forms by an autocatalytic mechanism. Rat histidase was found to have 41 and 43% amino acid identity to Pseudomonas putida and Bacillus subtilis histidases, respectively. Phenylalanine ammonia-lyases from parsley, kidney bean, and two yeast strains were also found to have approximately 20% amino acid identity to rat histidase. On the basis of the similarity of function of histidase and phenylalanine ammonia-lyase, dehydroalanine at the active sites, and the sequence conservation over a large evolutionary distance (mammals, bacteria, yeast, and plants), we propose that the genes for histidase and phenylalanine ammonia-lyase have diverged from a common ancestral gene, of which the most conserved regions are likely to be involved in catalysis or dehydroalanine formation.[1]


  1. Cloning and expression of rat histidase. Homology to two bacterial histidases and four phenylalanine ammonia-lyases. Taylor, R.G., Lambert, M.A., Sexsmith, E., Sadler, S.J., Ray, P.N., Mahuran, D.J., McInnes, R.R. J. Biol. Chem. (1990) [Pubmed]
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