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Molecular markers of serine protease evolution

By Maxwell M. Krem and Enrico Di Cera


The evolutionary history of serine proteases can be accounted for by highly conserved amino acids that form crucial structural and chemical elements of the catalytic apparatus. These residues display non- random dichotomies in either amino acid choice or serine codon usage and serve as discrete markers for tracking changes in the active site environment and supporting structures. These markers categorize serine proteases of the chymotrypsin-like, subtilisin-like and α/β-hydrolase fold clans according to phylogenetic lineages, and indicate the relative ages and order of appearance of those lineages. A common theme among these three unrelated clans of serine proteases is the development or maintenance of a catalytic tetrad, the fourth member of which is a Ser or Cys whose side chain helps stabilize other residues of the standard catalytic triad. A genetic mechanism for mutation of conserved markers, domain duplication followed by gene splitting, is suggested by analysis of evolutionary markers from newly sequenced genes with multiple protease domains

Topics: Article
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2001
DOI identifier: 10.1093/emboj/20.12.3036
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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