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Rakic B.,University of British Columbia | Rakic B.,Center for High throughput Biology iBi | Rao F.V.,University of British Columbia | Rao F.V.,Center for High throughput Biology iBi | And 7 more authors.

Sialyltransferases (STs) play essential roles in signaling and in the cellular recognition processes of mammalian cells by selectively installing cell-surface sialic acids in an appropriate manner both temporally and organ-specifically. The availability of the first three-dimensional structure of a mammalian (GT29) sialyltransferase has, for the first time, allowed quantitative structure/function analyses to be performed, thereby providing reliable insights into the roles of key active site amino acids. Kinetic analyses of mutants of ST3Gal-I, in conjunction with structural studies, have confirmed the mechanistic roles of His302 and His319 as general acid and base catalysts, respectively, and have quantitated other interactions with the cytosine monophosphate-N-acetyl -neuraminic acid donor substrate. The contributions of side chains that provide key interactions with the acceptor substrate, defining its specificity, have also been quantitated. Particularly important transition-state interactions of 2.5 and 2.7 kcal mol-1 are found between the acceptor axial 4-hydroxyl and the conserved side chains of Gln108 and Tyr269, respectively. These results provide a basis for the engineering of mammalian STs to accommodate non-natural substrate analogs that should prove valuable as chemical biological probes of sialyltransferase function. © 2013 The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com. Source

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