|Tomita H, Yokooji Y, Ishibashi T, Imanaka T, Atomi H
|An archaeal glutamate decarboxylase homolog functions as an aspartate decarboxylase and is involved in β-alanine and CoA biosynthesis
|β-Alanine is a precursor for coenzyme A (CoA) biosynthesis, and is a substrate for the bacterial/eukaryotic pantothenate synthetase and archaeal phosphopantothenate synthetase. β-Alanine is synthesized through various enzymes/pathways in bacteria and eukaryotes, including the direct decarboxylation of Asp by aspartate 1-decarboxylase (ADC), the degradation of pyrimidine, or the oxidation of polyamines. However in most archaea, homologs of these enzymes are not present, thus the mechanisms of β-alanine biosynthesis remain unclear. Here, we performed a biochemical and genetic study on a glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) homolog encoded by TK1814 from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Thermococcus kodakarensis. GADs are distributed in all three domains of life, generally catalyzing the decarboxylation of Glu to γ-aminobutyrate (GABA). The recombinant TK1814 protein displayed not only GAD activity but also ADC activity using pyridoxal 5' -phosphate as a cofactor. Kinetic studies revealed that the TK1814 protein prefers Asp as its substrate rather than Glu, with nearly a 20-fold difference in catalytic efficiency. Gene disruption of TK1814 resulted in a strain that could not grow in standard medium. Addition of β-alanine, 4' -phosphopantothenate or CoA complemented the growth defect, whereas GABA could not. Our results provide genetic evidence that TK1814 functions as an ADC in T. kodakarensis providing the β-alanine necessary for CoA biosynthesis. The results also suggest that the GAD activity of TK1814 is not necessary for growth, at least under the conditions applied in this study. TK1814 homologs are distributed in a wide range of archaea, and may be responsible for β-alanine biosynthesis in these organisms.