A recruited protease is involved in catabolism of pyrimidines.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In nature, the same biochemical reaction can be catalyzed by enzymes having fundamentally different folds, reaction mechanisms and origins. For example, the third step of the reductive catabolism of pyrimidines, the conversion of N-carbamyl-beta-alanine to beta-alanine, is catalyzed by two beta-alanine synthase (beta ASase, EC subfamilies. We show that the "prototype" eukaryote beta ASases, such as those from Drosophila melanogaster and Arabidopsis thaliana, are relatively efficient in the conversion of N-carbamyl-beta A compared with a representative of fungal beta ASases, the yeast Saccharomyces kluyveri beta ASase, which has a high K(m) value (71 mM). S. kluyveri beta ASase is specifically inhibited by dipeptides and tripeptides, and the apparent K(i) value of glycyl-glycine is in the same range as the substrate K(m). We show that this inhibitor binds to the enzyme active center in a similar way as the substrate. The observed structural similarities and inhibition behavior, as well as the phylogenetic relationship, suggest that the ancestor of the fungal beta ASase was a protease that had modified its profession and become involved in the metabolism of nucleic acid precursors.


  • Birgit Andersen
  • Stina Lundgren
  • Doreen Dobritzsch
  • Jure Piskur
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences


  • nucleic acid precursors, β-alanine synthase, protease, structure– function relationship, protein evolution
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-250
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch