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J Biol Chem. 2000 Jun 9;275(23):17869-77.

Cloning and expression of the human N-acetylneuraminic acid phosphate synthase gene with 2-keto-3-deoxy-D-glycero- D-galacto-nononic acid biosynthetic ability.

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  • 1Departments of Chemical Engineering and Biology, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21218, USA.


Sialic acids participate in many important biological recognition events, yet eukaryotic sialic acid biosynthetic genes are not well characterized. In this study, we have identified a novel human gene based on homology to the Escherichia coli sialic acid synthase gene (neuB). The human gene is ubiquitously expressed and encodes a 40-kDa enzyme. The gene partially restores sialic acid synthase activity in a neuB-negative mutant of E. coli and results in N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac) and 2-keto-3-deoxy-D-glycero-D-galacto-nononic acid (KDN) production in insect cells upon recombinant baculovirus infection. In vitro the human enzyme uses N-acetylmannosamine 6-phosphate and mannose 6-phosphate as substrates to generate phosphorylated forms of Neu5Ac and KDN, respectively, but exhibits much higher activity toward the Neu5Ac phosphate product.

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