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J Biol Chem. 2009 Jun 26;284(26):17796-807. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M809804200. Epub 2009 Feb 25.

The crystal structures of the open and catalytically competent closed conformation of Escherichia coli glycogen synthase.

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Department of Chemistry, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.


Escherichia coli glycogen synthase (EcGS, EC is a retaining glycosyltransferase (GT) that transfers glucose from adenosine diphosphate glucose to a glucan chain acceptor with retention of configuration at the anomeric carbon. EcGS belongs to the GT-B structural superfamily. Here we report several EcGS x-ray structures that together shed considerable light on the structure and function of these enzymes. The structure of the wild-type enzyme bound to ADP and glucose revealed a 15.2 degrees overall domain-domain closure and provided for the first time the structure of the catalytically active, closed conformation of a glycogen synthase. The main chain carbonyl group of His-161, Arg-300, and Lys-305 are suggested by the structure to act as critical catalytic residues in the transglycosylation. Glu-377, previously thought to be catalytic is found on the alpha-face of the glucose and plays an electrostatic role in the active site and as a glucose ring locator. This is also consistent with the structure of the EcGS(E377A)-ADP-HEPPSO complex where the glucose moiety is either absent or disordered in the active site.

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