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Jaffe EK
The porphobilinogen synthase family of metalloenzymes
Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr. 2000 Feb;56 ( Pt 2) :115-28
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The porphobilinogen synthase (PBGS) family of enzymes catalyzes the first common step in the biosynthesis of the essential tetrapyrroles such as chlorophyll and porphyrin. Although PBGSs are highly conserved at all four levels of protein structure, there is considerable diversity in the use of divalent cations for the catalytically essential and allosteric roles. Assumptions regarding commonalities among the PBGS proteins coupled with the diversity of usage of metal ions has led to a confused literature. The recent publication of crystal structures for three PBGS proteins coupled with more than 50 individual PBGS sequences allows an evaluation of these assumptions. This topical review focuses on the usage of metals by the PBGS family of proteins. It raises doubt concerning a dogma that there has been an evolutionary shift between Zn(II) and Mg(II) at one or more of the divalent metal-binding sites. It also raises the possibility that there may be up to four specific divalent metal ion-binding sites, each serving a unique function that can be alternatively filled by amino acids in some of the PBGSs.
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