Despite the fact that phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) activity has been measured and in some cases even purified from some Archaea, the gene responsible for this activity has not been elucidated. Using sensitive sequence comparison methods, we detected a highly conserved, uncharacterized archaeal gene family that is distantly related to the catalytic core of the canonical PEPC. To verify the predicted function of this archaeal gene family, we cloned a representative from the hyperthermophilic acidophille Sulfolobus solfataricus and functionally produced the corresponding enzyme as a fusion with the Escherichia coli maltose-binding protein. The purified fusion protein indeed displayed highly thermostable PEPC activity. The structural and biochemical properties of the characterized archaeal-type PEPC (atPEPC) from S. solfataricus are in good agreement with previously reported biochemical analyses of other archaeal PEPC enzymes. The newly identified atPEPC, with its distinct properties, constitutes yet another example of the versatility of the enzymes of the central carbon metabolic pathways in the archaeal domain.
- 3-dimensional structure
- protein sequences