P-type ATPases function to provide homeostasis in higher eukaryotes, but they are essentially ubiquitous, being found in all domains of life. Thever and Saier [J Memb Biol 2009;229:115–130] recently reported analyses of eukaryotic P-type ATPases, dividing them into nine functionally characterized and 13 functionally uncharacterized (FUPA) families. In this report, we analyze P-type ATPases in all major prokaryotic phyla for which complete genome sequence data are available, and we compare the results with those for eukaryotic P-type ATPases. Topological type I (heavy metal) P-type ATPases predominate in prokaryotes (approx. tenfold) while type II ATPases (specific for Na+,K+, H+ Ca2+, Mg2+ and phospholipids) predominate in eukaryotes (approx. twofold). Many P-type ATPase families are found exclusively in prokaryotes (e.g. Kdp-type K+ uptake ATPases (type III) and all ten prokaryotic FUPA familes), while others are restricted to eukaryotes (e.g. phospholipid flippases and all 13 eukaryotic FUPA families). Horizontal gene transfer has occurred frequently among bacteria and archaea, which have similar distributions of these enzymes, but rarely between most eukaryotic kingdoms, and even more rarely between eukaryotes and prokaryotes. In some bacterial phyla (e.g. Bacteroidetes, Flavobacteria and Fusobacteria), ATPase gene gain and loss as well as horizontal transfer occurred seldom in contrast to most other bacterial phyla. Some families (i.e. Kdp-type ATPases) underwent far less horizontal gene transfer than other prokaryotic families, possibly due to their multisubunit characteristics. Functional motifs are better conserved across family lines than across organismal lines, and these motifs can be family specific, facilitating functional predictions. In some cases, gene fusion events created P-type ATPases covalently linked to regulatory catalytic enzymes. In one family (FUPA Family 24), a type I ATPase gene (N-terminal) is fused to a type II ATPase gene (C-terminal) with retention of function only for the latter. Several pseudogene-encoded nonfunctional ATPases were identified. Genome minimalization led to preferential loss of P-type ATPase genes. We suggest that in prokaryotes and some unicellular eukaryotes, the primary function of P-type ATPases is protection from extreme environmental stress conditions. The classification of P-type ATPases of unknown function into phylogenetic families provides guides for future molecular biological studies.

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