Glycoside cleavage by a new mechanism in unsaturated glucuronyl hydrolases

Seino A K Jongkees, Stephen G. Withers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Unsaturated glucuronyl hydrolases (UGLs) from GH family 88 of the CAZy classification system cleave a terminal unsaturated sugar from the oligosaccharide products released by extracellular bacterial polysaccharide lyases. This pathway, which is involved in extracellular bacterial infection, has no equivalent in mammals. A novel mechanism for UGL has previously been proposed in which the enzyme catalyzes hydration of a vinyl ether group in the substrate, with subsequent rearrangements resulting in glycosidic bond cleavage. However, clear evidence for this mechanism has been lacking. In this study, analysis of the products of UGL-catalyzed reactions in water, deuterium oxide, and dilute methanol in water, in conjunction with the demonstration that UGL rapidly cleaves thioglycosides and glycosides of inverted anomeric configuration (substrates that are resistant to hydrolysis by classical glycosidases), provides strong support for this new mechanism. A hydration-initiated process is further supported by the observed UGL-catalyzed hydration of a C-glycoside substrate analogue. Finally, the observation of a small β-secondary kinetic isotope effect suggests a transition state with oxocarbenium ion character, in which the hydrogen at carbon 4 adopts an axial geometry. Taken together, these observations validate the novel vinyl ether hydration mechanism and are inconsistent with either inverting or retaining direct hydrolase mechanisms at carbon 1.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19334-19337
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number48
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2011


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