BACKGROUND: Gene duplication and the subsequent divergence of paralogous pairs play a central role in the evolution of novel gene functions. S. cerevisiae possesses two paralogous genes (ALT1/ALT2) which presumably encode alanine aminotransferases. It has been previously shown that Alt1 encodes an alanine aminotransferase, involved in alanine metabolism; however the physiological role of Alt2 is not known. Here we investigate whether ALT2 encodes an active alanine aminotransferase. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Our results show that although ALT1 and ALT2 encode 65% identical proteins, only Alt1 displays alanine aminotransferase activity; in contrast ALT2 encodes a catalytically inert protein. ALT1 and ALT2 expression is modulated by Nrg1 and by the intracellular alanine pool. ALT1 is alanine-induced showing a regulatory profile of a gene encoding an enzyme involved in amino acid catabolism, in agreement with the fact that Alt1 is the sole pathway for alanine catabolism present in S. cerevisiae. Conversely, ALT2 expression is alanine-repressed, indicating a role in alanine biosynthesis, although the encoded-protein has no alanine aminotransferase enzymatic activity. In the ancestral-like yeast L. kluyveri, the alanine aminotransferase activity was higher in the presence of alanine than in the presence of ammonium, suggesting that as for ALT1, LkALT1 expression could be alanine-induced. ALT2 retention poses the questions of whether the encoded protein plays a particular function, and if this function was present in the ancestral gene. It could be hypotesized that ALT2 diverged after duplication, through neo-functionalization or that ALT2 function was present in the ancestral gene, with a yet undiscovered function. CONCLUSIONS: ALT1 and ALT2 divergence has resulted in delegation of alanine aminotransferase activity to Alt1. These genes display opposed regulatory profiles: ALT1 is alanine-induced, while ALT2 is alanine repressed. Both genes are negatively regulated by the Nrg1 repressor. Presented results indicate that alanine could act as ALT2 Nrg1-co-repressor.
|Evidence ID||Analyze ID||Interactor||Interactor Systematic Name||Interactor||Interactor Systematic Name||Type||Assay||Annotation||Action||Modification||Phenotype||Source||Reference||Note|
|Evidence ID||Analyze ID||Gene||Gene Systematic Name||Gene Ontology Term||Gene Ontology Term ID||Qualifier||Aspect||Method||Evidence||Source||Assigned On||Annotation Extension||Reference|
|Evidence ID||Analyze ID||Gene||Gene Systematic Name||Phenotype||Experiment Type||Experiment Type Category||Mutant Information||Strain Background||Chemical||Details||Reference|
|Evidence ID||Analyze ID||Regulator||Regulator Systematic Name||Target||Target Systematic Name||Experiment||Assay||Construct||Conditions||Strain Background||Reference|