The only known function of S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase (AdoMetDC) is to supply, with its partner aminopropyltransferase enzymes such as spermidine synthase (SpdSyn), the aminopropyl donor for polyamine biosynthesis. Polyamine spermidine is probably essential for the growth of all eukaryotes, most archaea and many bacteria. Two classes of AdoMetDC exist, the prokaryotic class 1a and 1b forms, and the eukaryotic class 2 enzyme, which is derived from an ancient fusion of two prokaryotic class 1b genes. Herein, we show that ‘eukaryotic' class 2 AdoMetDCs are found in bacteria and are enzymatically functional. However, the bacterial AdoMetDC class 2 genes are phylogenetically limited and were likely acquired from a eukaryotic source via transdomain horizontal gene transfer, consistent with the class 2 form of AdoMetDC being a eukaryotic invention. We found that some class 2 and thousands of class 1b AdoMetDC homologues are present in bacterial genomes that also encode a gene fusion of an N-terminal membrane protein of the Major Facilitator Superfamily (MFS) class of transporters and a C-terminal SpdSyn-like domain. Although these AdoMetDCs are enzymatically functional, spermidine is absent, and an entire fusion protein or its SpdSyn-like domain only, does not biochemically complement a SpdSyn deletion strain of E. coli. This suggests that the fusion protein aminopropylates a substrate other than putrescine, and has a role outside of polyamine biosynthesis. Another integral membrane protein found clustered with these genes is DUF350, which is also found in other gene clusters containing a homologue of the glutathionylspermidine synthetase family and occasionally other polyamine biosynthetic enzymes.

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