PROSITE documentation PDOC00676
Carbamoyl-phosphate synthase subdomain signatures


Carbamoyl-phosphate synthase (CPSase) catalyzes the ATP-dependent synthesis of carbamyl-phosphate from glutamine (EC or ammonia (EC and bicarbonate [1]. This important enzyme initiates both the urea cycle and the biosynthesis of arginine and pyrimidines.

Glutamine-dependent CPSase (CPSase II) is involved in the biosynthesis of pyrimidines and purines. In bacteria such as Escherichia coli, a single enzyme is involved in both biosynthetic pathways while other bacteria have separate enzymes. The bacterial enzymes are formed of two subunits. A small chain (gene carA) that provides glutamine amidotransferase activity (GATase) necessary for removal of the ammonia group from glutamine, and a large chain (gene carB) that provides CPSase activity. Such a structure is also present in fungi for arginine biosynthesis (genes CPA1 and CPA2). In most eukaryotes, the first three steps of pyrimidine biosynthesis are catalyzed by a large multifunctional enzyme - called URA2 in yeast, rudimentary in Drosophila and CAD in mammals [2]. The CPSase domain is located between an N-terminal GATase domain and the C-terminal part which encompass the dihydroorotase and aspartate transcarbamylase activities.

Ammonia-dependent CPSase (CPSase I) is involved in the urea cycle in ureolytic vertebrates; it is a monofunctional protein located in the mitochondrial matrix.

The CPSase domain is typically 120 Kd in size and has arisen from the duplication of an ancestral subdomain of about 500 amino acids. Each subdomain independently binds to ATP and it is suggested that the two homologous halves act separately, one to catalyze the phosphorylation of bicarbonate to carboxy phosphate and the other that of carbamate to carbamyl phosphate.

The CPSase subdomain is also present in a single copy in the biotin-dependent enzymes acetyl-CoA carboxylase (EC (ACC), propionyl-CoA carboxylase (EC (PCCase), pyruvate carboxylase (EC (PC) and urea carboxylase (EC

As signatures for the subdomain, we selected two conserved regions which are probably important for binding ATP and/or catalytic activity.

Last update:

July 1998 / Patterns and text revised.


Technical section

PROSITE methods (with tools and information) covered by this documentation:

CPSASE_1, PS00866; Carbamoyl-phosphate synthase subdomain signature 1  (PATTERN)

CPSASE_2, PS00867; Carbamoyl-phosphate synthase subdomain signature 2  (PATTERN)


1AuthorsSimmer J.P. Kelly R.E. Rinker A.G. Jr. Scully J.L. Evans D.R.
TitleMammalian carbamyl phosphate synthetase (CPS). DNA sequence and evolution of the CPS domain of the Syrian hamster multifunctional protein CAD.
SourceJ. Biol. Chem. 265:10395-10402(1990).
PubMed ID1972379

2AuthorsDavidson J.N. Chen K.C. Jamison R.S. Musmanno L.A. Kern C.B.
TitleThe evolutionary history of the first three enzymes in pyrimidine biosynthesis.
SourceBioEssays 15:157-164(1993).
PubMed ID8098212

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