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

Carotenoid desaturases from Rhodobacter capsulatus and Neurospora crassa are structurally and functionally conserved and contain domains homologous to flavoprotein disulfide oxidoreductases.

The characteristic red color of some photosynthetic bacteria and the orange color of Neurospora conidia is due to the presence of carotenoids, photoprotective pigments synthesized by plants, algae, bacteria, and fungi. Generally, carotenoids are tetraterpenes in which absorption of visible light and photoprotection are mediated by a chain of conjugated double bonds, the chromophore, which is formed by successive desaturations of phytoene, a colorless precursor. The genes al-1 and crtI mediate the desaturation of phytoene in Neurospora crassa and Rhodobacter capsulatus, respectively. Here, we report that alignment of the primary sequence of Al-1, CrtI, and CrtD, another carotenoid desaturase, reveals conservation with amino acid residues that mediate FAD-binding and dimerization functions in Azotobacter vinelandii dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase and human glutathione reductase, two disulfide oxidoreductases. Plasmids containing the coding region of an al-1 cDNA fused to appropriate bacterial transcriptional and translational signals complement crtI mutants. Our results indicate that both structure and function of carotenoid desaturases have been conserved during evolution and suggest that these enzymes are evolutionarily related to disulfide oxidoreductases.[1]


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