, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 445-449

Molecular Evolution of the Lysine Biosynthetic Pathways

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Among the different biosynthetic pathways found in extant organisms, lysine biosynthesis is peculiar because it has two different anabolic routes. One is the diaminopimelic acid pathway (DAP), and the other over the a-aminoadipic acid route (AAA). A variant of the AAA route that includes some enzymes involved in arginine and leucine biosyntheses has been recently reported in Thermus thermophilus (Nishida et al. 1999). Here we describe the results of a detailed genomic analysis of each of the sequences involved in the two lysine anabolic routes, as well as of genes from other routes related to them. No evidence was found of an evolutionary relationship between the DAP and AAA enzymes. Our results suggest that the DAP pathway is related to arginine metabolism, since the lysC, asd, dapC, dapE, and lysA genes from lysine biosynthesis are related to the argB, argC, argD, argE, and speAC genes, respectively, whose products catalyze different steps in arginine metabolism. This work supports previous reports on the relationship between AAA gene products and some enzymes involved in leucine biosynthesis and the tricarboxylic acid cycle (Irvin and Bhattacharjee 1998; Miyazaki et al. 2001). Here we discuss the significance of the recent finding that several genes involved in the arginine (Arg) and leucine (Leu) biosynthesis participate in a new alternative route of the AAA pathway (Miyazaki et al. 2001). Our results demonstrate a clear relationship between the DAP and Arg routes, and between the AAA and Leu pathways.