Pectin methylesterases: sequence-structural features and phylogenetic relationships

Oskar Markovic, Stefan Janecek
Carbohydrate Research 2004 September 13, 339 (13): 2281-95
Pectin methylesterases (PMEs) are enzymes produced by bacteria, fungi and higher plants. They belong to the carbohydrate esterase family CE-8. This study deals with comparison of 127 amino acid sequences of this family containing the five characteristic sequence segments: 44_GxYxE, 113_QAVAL, 135_QDTL, 157_DFIFG, 223_LGRPW (Daucus carota numbering). Six strictly conserved residues (Gly44, Gly154, Asp157, Gly161, Arg225 and Trp227) and six conservative ones (Ile39, Ser86, Ser137, Ile152, Ile159 and Leu223) were identified. A set of 70 representative PMEs was created. The sequences were aligned and the evolutionary tree based on the alignment was calculated. The tree reflected the taxonomy: the fungal and bacterial PMEs formed their own clusters and the plant enzymes were grouped into eight separate clades. The plant PME from Vitis riparia was placed in a common clade with fungi. Three plant clades (Plant 1, 2 and 3) were relatively homogenous reflecting high degree of mutual sequence identity. The clade Plant 4 contained PMEs from flower parts (mostly form pollen) and was heterogenous, like the clades Plant 1a and 2a, which moreover exhibit an intermediate character. The clades Plant X1 and X2 were situated in the tree close to microbial clades and represented atypical plant PMEs. Taking into account the remaining plant PMEs, an expanded plant alignment and tree (with most Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa enzymes), were prepared. An exclusive Arabidopsis alignment and tree indicated the existence of a new plant clade X3. In the pre pro region of most plant enzymes a longer conserved segment containing basic dipeptide, R(K)/R(K), that precedes the N-terminal end of PME was revealed. This was not observed in the clade Plant X1 and majority of the clade Plant X2. This study brings further the description of occurrence of potential glycosylation sites in pre pro sequences and in mature enzymes as well as important amino acid residues, such as aspartates, cysteines, histidines and other aromatic residues (Tyr, Phe and Trp), with discussion of their possible function in the activity of PMEs.

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