Unique evolution of Bivalvia arginine kinases
The clams Pseudocardium, Solen, Corbicula and Ensis possess a unique form of arginine kinase (AK) with a molecular mass of 80 kDa and an unusual two-domain structure, a result of gene duplication and subsequent fusion. These AKs also lack two functionally important amino acid residues, Asp62 and Arg193, which are strictly conserved in other 40-kDa AKs and are assumed to be key residues for stabilizing the substrate-bound structure. However, these AKs show higher enzyme activity. The cDNA-derived amino acid sequences of 40-kDa AKs from the blood clam Scapharca broughtonii and the oyster Crassostrea gigas were determined. While Asp62 and Arg193 are conserved in Scapharca AK, these two key residues are replaced by Asn and Lys, respectively, in Crassostrea AK. The native enzyme from Crassostrea and both of the recombinant enzymes show an enzyme activity similar to that of two-domain clam AKs and at least twofold higher than that of other molluskan AKs. Although the replacement of Asp62 or Arg193 by Gly in normal AK causes a considerable decrease in Vmax (6–15% of wild-type enzyme) and a two- to threefold increase in Km for arginine, the same replacement in Scapharca AK had no pronounced effect on enzyme activity. Together with the observation that bivalve AKs are phylogenetically distinct from other molluskan AKs, these results suggest that bivalve AKs have undergone a unique molecular evolution; the characteristic stabilizing function of residues 62 and 193 has been lost and, consequently, the enzyme shows higher activity than normal.
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