Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Biol Chem. 2008 Feb 22;283(8):4841-9. Epub 2007 Dec 5.

Sialic acid mutarotation is catalyzed by the Escherichia coli beta-propeller protein YjhT.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biology (Area 10), York Structural Biology Laboratory, University of York, York YO10 5YW, United Kingdom.


The acquisition of host-derived sialic acid is an important virulence factor for some bacterial pathogens, but in vivo this sugar acid is sequestered in sialoconjugates as the alpha-anomer. In solution, however, sialic acid is present mainly as the beta-anomer, formed by a slow spontaneous mutarotation. We studied the Escherichia coli protein YjhT as a member of a family of uncharacterized proteins present in many sialic acid-utilizing pathogens. This protein is able to accelerate the equilibration of the alpha- and beta-anomers of the sialic acid N-acetylneuraminic acid, thus describing a novel sialic acid mutarotase activity. The structure of this periplasmic protein, solved to 1.5A resolution, reveals a dimeric 6-bladed unclosed beta-propeller, the first of a bacterial Kelch domain protein. Mutagenesis of conserved residues in YjhT demonstrated an important role for Glu-209 and Arg-215 in mutarotase activity. We also present data suggesting that the ability to utilize alpha-N-acetylneuraminic acid released from complex sialoconjugates in vivo provides a physiological advantage to bacteria containing YjhT.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

LinkOut - more resources

Full Text Sources

Other Literature Sources

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk