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Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2003 Dec;13(6):731-8.

Catalysis by nucleoside hydrolases.

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Department of Ultrastructure, Vlaams Interuniversitair Instituut voor Biotechnologie, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussel, Belgium.


Nucleoside hydrolases cleave the N-glycosidic bond of ribonucleosides. Because of their vital role in the protozoan purine salvage pathway, nucleoside hydrolases from parasitic protozoa in particular have been studied extensively by X-ray crystallography, kinetic methods and site-directed mutagenesis. An elaborate network of conserved interactions between the metalloenzyme and the ribose enables steric and electrostatic stabilisation of the oxocarbenium-ion-like transition state. Activation of the leaving group by protonation before the formation of the transition state is a recurring catalytic strategy of enzymes that cleave N-glycosidic bonds. However, the mechanisms underlying leaving group activation are still the subject of debate for the nucleoside hydrolases.

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