The structural genes coding for both subunits of adenosylcobalamin-dependent methylmalonyl-CoA mutase from the Gram-positive bacterium Propionibacterium shermanii have been cloned, with the use of synthetic oligonucleotides as primary hybridization probes. The genes are closely linked and are transcribed in the same direction. Nucleotide sequence analysis of 4.5 kb of DNA encompassing both genes allowed us to infer the complete amino acid sequence of the two subunits: the beta-subunit is the product of the upstream gene, and consists of 638 amino acid residues (Mr 69465) and the alpha-subunit consists of 728 amino acid residues (Mr 80,147). There is a very close structural homology between the two subunits, reflecting the probable duplication of a common ancestral gene. A sequence present only in the alpha-subunit is significantly homologous to a portion of the sequence of the methylmalonyl-CoA-binding subunit of transcarboxylase from P. shermanii [Samols, Thornton, Murtif, Kumar, Haase & Wood (1988) J. Biol. Chem. 263, 6461-6464], and this homologous region may form part of the CoA ester-binding site in both enzymes.

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