Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary In bacteria 5-aminolevulinate, the universal precursor in the biosynthesis of the porphyrin nucleus of hemes, chlorophylls and bilins is synthesised by two different pathways: in non-sulphur purple bacteria (Rhodobacter) or Rhizobium 5-aminolevulinate synthase condenses glycine and succinyl-CoA into 5-aminolevulinate as is the case in mammalian cells and yeast. In cyanobacteria, green and purple sulphur bacteria, as in chloroplasts of higher plants and algae a three step pathway converts glutamate into 5-aminolevulinate. The last step is the conversion of glutamate 1-semialdehyde into 5-aminolevulinate. Using a cDNA clone encoding glutamate 1-semialdehyde aminotransferase from barley, genes for this enzyme were cloned from Synechococcus PCC6301 and Escherichia coli and sequenced. The popC gene of E. coli, previously considered to encode 5-aminolevulinate synthase, appears to be a structural gene for glutamate 1-semialdehyde aminotransferase. Domains with identical amino acid sequences comprise 48% of the primary structure of the barley, cyanobacterial and putative E. coli glutamate 1-semialdehyde aminotransferases. The cyanobacterial and barley enzymes share 72% identical residues. The peptide containing a likely pyridoxamine phosphate binding lysine is conserved in all three protein sequences.
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