The Saccharomyces cerevisiae HIS7 gene was cloned by its location immediately downstream of the previously isolated and characterized ARO4 gene. The two genes have the same orientation with a distance of only 416 bp between the two open reading frames. The yeast HIS7 gene represents the first isolated eukaryotic gene encoding the enzymatic activities which catalyze the fifth and sixth step in histidine biosynthesis. The open reading frame of the HIS7 gene has a length of 1,656 bp resulting in a gene product of 552 amino acids with a calculated molecular weight of 61,082. Two findings implicate a bifunctional nature of the HIS7 gene product. First, the N-terminal and C-terminal segments of the deduced HIS7 amino acid sequence show significant homology to prokaryotic monofunctional glutamine amidotransferases and cyclases, respectively, involved in histidine biosynthesis. Second, the yeast HIS7 gene is able to suppress His auxotrophy of corresponding Escherichia coli hisH and hisF mutants. HIS7 gene expression is regulated by the general control system of amino acid biosynthesis. GCN4-dependent and GCN4-independent (basal) transcription use different initiator elements in the HIS7 promoter.
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