On the Origin of Enzymatic Species

Trends Biochem Sci. 1993 Oct;18(10):372-6. doi: 10.1016/0968-0004(93)90091-z.


The diversity of enzyme catalytic function is remarkable, particularly when one considers that ancestral life forms must have started with a much smaller ensemble of proteins. In this article, we discuss the evolution of the mandelate pathway in pseudomonads as an example of how catalytic diversity may have evolved. We suggest that existing enzymes that catalyse the chemistry needed to accomplish a transformation were recruited, followed by the evolution of specific binding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Biological Evolution
  • Mandelic Acids / metabolism
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Pseudomonas / enzymology
  • Racemases and Epimerases / chemistry
  • Racemases and Epimerases / genetics*
  • Racemases and Epimerases / metabolism


  • Mandelic Acids
  • Racemases and Epimerases
  • mandelate racemase