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1.  Molecular analysis of the role of two aromatic aminotransferases and a broad-specificity aspartate aminotransferase in the aromatic amino acid metabolism of Pyrococcus furiosus  
Archaea  2002;1(2):133-141.
The genes encoding aromatic aminotransferase II (AroAT II) and aspartate aminotransferase (AspAT) from Pyrococcus furiosus have been identified, expressed in Escherichia coli and the recombinant proteins characterized. The AroAT II enzyme was specific for the transamination reaction of the aromatic amino acids, and uses α-ketoglutarate as the amino acceptor. Like the previously characterized AroAT I, AroAT II has highest efficiency for phenylalanine (kcat/Km = 923 s–1 mM–1). Northern blot analyses revealed that AroAT I was mainly expressed when tryptone was the primary carbon and energy source. Although the expression was significantly lower, a similar trend was observed for AroAT II. These observations suggest that both AroATs are involved in amino acid degradation. Although AspAT exhibited highest activity with aspartate and α-ketoglutarate (kcat ~105 s–1), it also showed significant activity with alanine, glutamate and the aromatic amino acids. With aspartate as the amino donor, AspAT catalyzed the amination of α-ketoglutarate, pyruvate and phenylpyruvate. No activity was detected with either branched-chain amino acids or α-keto acids. The AspAT gene (aspC) was expressed as a polycistronic message as part of the aro operon, with expression observed only when the aromatic amino acids were absent from the growth medium, indicating a role in the biosynthesis of the aromatic amino acids.
PMCID: PMC2685563  PMID: 15803651
phenylalanine; phenylpyruvate
2.  Proteolysis in hyperthermophilic microorganisms 
Archaea  2002;1(1):63-74.
Proteases are found in every cell, where they recognize and break down unneeded or abnormal polypeptides or peptide-based nutrients within or outside the cell. Genome sequence data can be used to compare proteolytic enzyme inventories of different organisms as they relate to physiological needs for protein modification and hydrolysis. In this review, we exploit genome sequence data to compare hyperthermophilic microorganisms from the euryarchaeotal genus Pyrococcus, the crenarchaeote Sulfolobus solfataricus, and the bacterium Thermotoga maritima. An overview of the proteases in these organisms is given based on those proteases that have been characterized and on putative proteases that have been identified from genomic sequences, but have yet to be characterized. The analysis revealed both similarities and differences in the mechanisms utilized for proteolysis by each of these hyperthermophiles and indicated how these mechanisms relate to proteolysis in less thermophilic cells and organisms.
PMCID: PMC2685542  PMID: 15803660
Archaea; Bacteria; protease; Pyrococcus; Sulfolobus solfataricus; Thermotoga maritima

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