A quantitative approach to sequence comparisons of nitrogenase MoFe protein alpha- and beta-subunits including the newly sequenced nifK gene from Klebsiella pneumoniae.

D. Holland, A. Zilberstein, A. Zamir, J. L. Sussman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The nucleotide sequence was determined for part of the Klebsiella pneumoniae nif gene cluster containing the 3' end of the nifD gene and the entire length of the nifK gene (encoding the alpha- and beta-subunits of the nitrogenase MoFe protein respectively), as well as the putative start of the nifY gene, a gene of as yet unknown function. A broad-based comparison of a number of MoFe protein alpha-subunits, beta-subunits and alpha-versus beta-subunits was carried out by the use of a computer program that simultaneously aligns three protein sequences according to the mutation data matrix of Dayhoff. A new kind of quantitative statistical measure of the similarity between the aligned sequences was obtained by calculating and plotting standardized similarity scores for overlapping segments along the aligned proteins. This calculation determines if a test sequence is similar to the consensus sequence of two other proteins that are known to be related to each other. The different beta-subunits compared were found to be significantly similar along most of their sequence, with the exception of two relatively short regions centred around residues 225 and 300, which contain insertions/deletions. The overall pattern of similarity between different alpha-subunits exhibits resemblance to the overall pattern of similarity between different beta-subunits, including regions of low similarity centred around residues 225 and 340. Comparison of alpha-subunits with beta-subunits showed that a region of significant similarity between the two types of subunits was located approximately between residues 120 and 180 in both subunits, but other parts of the proteins were only marginally similar. These results provide insights into likely tertiary structural features of the MoFe protein subunits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-285
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemical Journal
Volume247
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Oct 1987
Externally publishedYes

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