, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 127-133

Proton-Pumping Inorganic Pyrophosphatases in Some Archaea and Other Extremophilic Prokaryotes

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Comparative studies between the proton-pumping, membrane-bound inorganic pyrophosphatases (H+-PPases) from hyperthermophilic and thermophilic prokaryotes and those from mesophilic organisms can now be performed because of very recent sequence data. Typical overall factors that contribute to protein thermostability are found in H+-PPases from extremophiles; nevertheless, putative active site motifs of this class of enzymes may be identical over the whole range of average growth temperatures of the compared prokaryotes. Heterologous expression in yeast of H+-PPases from organisms spanning a wide range of thermal habitats has allowed the biochemical comparison among these proteins within the same system, ensuring that differences observed are due to intrinsic characteristics of the proteins and not to their interactions with different cellular environments. On the other hand, the availability of H+-PPase sequences from a variety of sources have permitted molecular phylogenetic studies of this class of proton pumps, thus providing information about their general structural and functional properties. A great step forward may be expected when one of the several groups now attempting crystallization and 3D structural determination of H+-PPases will be successful.