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Carbohydr Res. 1995 Jul 10;271(1):31-42.

Substrate specificity of small-intestinal lactase: study of the steric effects and hydrogen bonds involved in enzyme-substrate interaction.

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  • 1Instituto de Química Orgánica, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid, Spain.


Milk lactose is hydrolysed to D-galactose and D-glucose in the small intestine of mammals by the lactase-phlorizin hydrolase complex (LPH, EC Lactase activity has broad substrate selectivity and several glycosides are substrates. Recently, using the monodeoxy derivatives of methyl beta-lactoside (1), we have shown the importance of each hydroxyl group in the substrate molecule concerning the interaction with the enzyme. Now we have studied the corresponding O-methyl derivatives, as well as some of the halo derivatives of 1. We have found that the enzyme presents steric restrictions to the recognition of substrates modified in the galactose moiety. In contrast, the binding site for the aglycon part of the substrate is looser. On the other hand, we have previously shown that HO-3' and HO-6 were important for the recognition of the substrate by the enzyme. Now we have found that the corresponding fluorine derivatives are not, or very poorly, recognized. This suggests that the HO-3' and HO-6 participate, as donors, in hydrogen bonds in the interaction with the enzyme.

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