Send to

Choose Destination
Top Curr Chem. 2015;367:29-73. doi: 10.1007/128_2012_349.

Endosialidases: Versatile Tools for the Study of Polysialic Acid.

Author information

Department of Medical Biochemistry and Genetics, University of Turku, Kiinamyllynkatu 10, 20520, Turku, Finland.


Polysialic acid is an α2,8-linked N-acetylneuraminic acid polymer found on the surface of both bacterial and eukaryotic cells. Endosialidases are bacteriophage-borne glycosyl hydrolases that specifically cleave polysialic acid. The crystal structure of an endosialidase reveals a trimeric mushroom-shaped molecule which, in addition to the active site, harbors two additional polysialic acid binding sites. Folding of the protein crucially depends on an intramolecular C-terminal chaperone domain that is proteolytically released in an intramolecular reaction. Based on structural data and previous considerations, an updated catalytic mechanism is discussed. Endosialidases degrade polysialic acid in a processive mode of action, and a model for its mechanism is suggested. The review summarizes the structural and biochemical elucidations of the last decade and the importance of endosialidases in biochemical and medical applications. Active endosialidases are important tools in studies on the biological roles of polysialic acid, such as the pathogenesis of septicemia and meningitis by polysialic acid-encapsulated bacteria, or its role as a modulator of the adhesion and interactions of neural and other cells. Endosialidase mutants that have lost their polysialic acid cleaving activity while retaining their polysialic acid binding capability have been fused to green fluorescent protein to provide an efficient tool for the specific detection of polysialic acid.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center