The physical biochemistry and molecular genetics of sulfate activation

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This article is an overview of current research in the area of sulfate activation. Emphasis is placed on presenting unresolved issues in an appropriate context for critical evaluation by the reader. The energetics of sulfate activation is reevaluated in light of recent findings that demonstrate that the synthesis of activated sulfate is thermodynamically driven by GTP hydrolysis. The structural and functional bases of this GTPase activation are discussed in detail. The bonding and hydrolysis of the high-energy, phosphoric-sulfuric acid anhydride bond of activated sulfate are presented along with an analysis of the importance of the divalent cation and pyrophosphate protonation in the equilibria governing activated sulfate formation. The molecular genetics of sulfate assimilation in prokaryotes is reviewed with an emphasis on the regulation of the pathway. Recent discoveries connecting sulfate activation to plant/microbe symbiogenesis are presented, as are several examples of the importance of activated sulfate in human metabolism and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-542
Number of pages28
JournalCritical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1993


  • GTpase
  • Sulfate activation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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