UDP-glucuronic acid (UDP-GlcA) 4-epimerase illustrates an important problem regarding enzyme catalysis: balancing conformational flexibility with precise positioning. The enzyme coordinates the C4-oxidation of the substrate by NAD+ and rotation of a decarboxylation-prone β-keto acid intermediate in the active site, enabling stereoinverting reduction of the keto group by NADH. We reveal the elusive rotational landscape of the 4-keto intermediate. Distortion of the sugar ring into boat conformations induces torsional mobility in the enzyme's binding pocket. The rotational endpoints show that the 4-keto sugar has an undistorted 4C1 chair conformation. The equatorially placed carboxylate group disfavors decarboxylation of the 4-keto sugar. Epimerase variants lead to decarboxylation upon removal of the binding interactions with the carboxylate group in the opposite rotational isomer of the substrate. Substitutions R185A/D convert the epimerase into UDP-xylose synthases that decarboxylate UDP-GlcA in stereospecific, configuration-retaining reactions.
|Journal||Angewandte Chemie - International Edition|
|Publication status||Published - 23 Jan 2023|
- Enzyme Catalysis
- UDP-Glucuronic Acid
ASJC Scopus subject areas