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Saccharomyces cerevisiae ASN1 and ASN2 are asparagine synthetase paralogs that have diverged in their ability to polymerize in response to nutrient stress.


Recent work has found that many metabolic enzymes have the ability to polymerize in response to metabolic changes or environmental stress. This ability to polymerize is well conserved for the few metabolic enzyme paralogs that have been studied in yeast. Here we describe the first set of paralogs, Asn1p and Asn2p, that have differential assembly behavior. Asn1p and Asn2p both co-assemble into filaments in response to nutrient limitation. However, the ability of Asn2p to form filaments is strictly dependent on the presence of Asn1p. Using mutations that block enzyme activity but have differential effects on Asn1p polymerization, we have found that Asn1p polymers are unlikely to have acquired a moonlighting function. Together these results provide a novel system for understanding the regulation and evolution of metabolic enzyme polymerization.

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