The human genes for S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase and adenosine deaminase are syntenic on chromosome 20

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Science  14 May 1982:
Vol. 216, Issue 4547, pp. 739-742
DOI: 10.1126/science.7079734


Human-Chinese hamster cell hybrids and a monoclonal antibody to human S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase were used to identify chromosome 20 as the location of the human gene for this enzyme. The gene for adenosine deaminase had previously been mapped to this chromosome. The activity of S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase is dependent in vivo on that of adenosine deaminase, since the substrates for the deaminase, adenosine and deoxyadenosine, respectively, inhibit and inactivate S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase in genetic or drug-induced adenosine deaminase deficiency. This functional dependence and the likelihood that S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase, a eukaryotic enzyme, arose later than adenosine deaminase, which occurs in prokaryotes as well as eukaryotes, suggest that the occurrence of their genes on the same chromosome may have evolutionary significance. In addition, the unusual capacity of S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase to form stable complexes with adenosine and its cofactor, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, suggest that evolution of its gene may have involved recombination of a portion of the adenosine deaminase gene with an adenine nucleotide domain-coding sequence of another preexisting gene.