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Biochemistry. 2007 Mar 27;46(12):3916-24. Epub 2007 Feb 23.

A two-base mechanism for Escherichia coli ADP-L-glycero-D-manno-heptose 6-epimerase.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z1.


ADP-l-glycero-d-manno-heptose 6-epimerase (HldD or AGME, formerly RfaD) catalyzes the inversion of configuration at C-6' ' of the heptose moiety of ADP-d-glycero-d-manno-heptose and ADP-l-glycero-d-manno-heptose. The epimerase HldD operates in the biosynthetic pathway of l-glycero-d-manno-heptose, which is a conserved sugar in the core region of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of Gram-negative bacteria. Previous studies support a mechanism in which HldD uses its tightly bound NADP+ cofactor to oxidize directly at C-6' ', generating a ketone intermediate. A reduction of the ketone from the opposite face then occurs, generating the epimeric product. How the epimerase is able access both faces of the ketone intermediate with correct alignment of the three required components, NADPH, the ketone carbonyl, and a catalytic acid/base residue, is addressed here. It is proposed that the epimerase active site contains two catalytic pockets, each of which bears a catalytic acid/base residue that facilitates reduction of the C-6' ' ketone but leads to a distinct epimeric product. The ketone carbonyl may access either pocket via rotation about the C-5' '-C-6' ' bond of the sugar nucleotide and in doing so presents opposing faces to the bound cofactor. Evidence in support of the two-base mechanism is found in studies of two single mutants of the Escherichia coli K-12 epimerase, Y140F and K178M, both of which have severely compromised epimerase activities that are more than 3 orders of magnitude lower than that of the wild type. The catalytic competency of these two mutants in promoting redox chemistry is demonstrated with an alternate catalytic activity that requires only one catalytic base: dismutation of a C-6' ' aldehyde substrate analogue (ADP-beta-d-manno-hexodialdose) to an acid and an alcohol (ADP-beta-d-mannuronic acid and ADP-beta-d-mannose). This study identifies the two catalytic bases as tyrosine 140 and lysine 178. A one-step enzymatic conversion of mannose into ADP-beta-mannose is also described and used to make C-6' '-substituted derivatives of this sugar nucleotide.

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