The evolutionary history of the first three enzymes in pyrimidine biosynthesis

Jeffrey N. Davidson, Kuey C. Chen, Robert S. Jamison, Lisa A. Musmanno, Christine B. Kern

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Some metabolic pathways are nearly ubiquitous among organisms: the genes encoding the enzymes for such pathways must therefore be ancient and essential. De novo pyrimidine biosynthesis is an example of one such metabolic pathway. In animals a single protein called CAD carries the first three steps of this pathway. The same three enzymes in prokaryotes are associated with separate proteins. The CAD gene appears to have evolved through a process of gene duplication and DNA rearrangement, leading to an in‐frame gene fusion encoding a chimeric protein. A driving force for the creation of eukaryotic genes encoding multienzymatic proteins such as CAD may be the advantage of coordinate expression of enzymes catalyzing steps in a biosynthetic pathway. The analogous structure in bacteria is the operon. Differences in the translational mechanisms of eukaryotes and prokaryotes may have dictated the different strategies used by organisms to evolve coordinately regulated genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-164
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)


Dive into the research topics of 'The evolutionary history of the first three enzymes in pyrimidine biosynthesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this