Adenylosuccinate synthetase genes: Molecular cloning and phylogenetic analysis of a highly conserved archaeal gene

I. K.O. Cann, S. Kanai, H. Toh, Y. Ishino

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Adenylosuccinate synthetase (PurA) catalyzes the first step in the de novo AMP synthesis and has been extensively studied in both Bacteria and Eukarya. We cloned the purA gene from the hyperthermophilic archaeon, Pyrococcus furiosus. The gene appears to be individually transcribed and encodes a protein of 339 amino acids. The amino acid sequence comparison with other archaeal PurAs found from recent genome analyses indicated that two deletions, one central and the other C-terminal, are a common feature of archaeal PurAs. None of the 21 PurA homologues analyzed from Eukarya and Bacteria exhibited this feature. Amino acid sequences of PurAs in Archaea showed 64% average identities which were significantly higher than the 50% and 55% calculated for Bacteria and Eukarya, respectively. Several residues conserved in PurAs of both Eukarya and Bacteria and shown to be of catalytic importance are missing in the archaeal PurAs. Phylogenetic analysis using PurA as the marker grouped life into 3 domains, hence it was consistent with results derived from 16-18S ribosomal RNA sequences. The topology within the three domains, in general, portrayed the hitherto accepted evolutionary relationship among the organisms utilized. PurA can, thus, serve as an additional marker to evaluate phylogenetic inferences drawn from sequence data from rRNA and other conserved genes. The presence of two unique deletions in both euryarchaeal and crenarchaeal PurAs, but not in those of Bacteria and Eukarya, is a strong evidence confirming the common lineage of these two subdomains of Archaea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-486
Number of pages9
JournalSystematic and Applied Microbiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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