Carlos Martinez-Fleites

Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, ENG, United Kingdom

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Publications (22)130.09 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The current drive for applications of biomass-derived compounds, for energy and advanced materials, has led to a resurgence of interest in the manipulation of plant polymers. The xyloglucans, a family of structurally complex plant polysaccharides, have attracted significant interest due to their intrinsic high affinity for cellulose, both in muro and in technical applications. Moreover, current cell wall models are limited by the lack of detailed structure-property relationships of xyloglucans, due to a lack of molecules with well-defined branching patterns. Here, we have developed a new, broad-specificity "xyloglucan glycosynthase", selected from active-site mutants of a bacterial endoxyloglucanase, which catalyzed the synthesis of high molar mass polysaccharides, with complex side-chain structures, from suitable glycosyl fluoride donor substrates. The product range was further extended by combination with an Arabidopsis thaliana α(1→2)-fucosyltransferase to achieve the in vitro synthesis of fucosylated xyloglucans typical of dicot primary cell walls. These enzymes thus comprise a toolkit for the controlled enzymatic synthesis of xyloglucans that are otherwise impossible to obtain from native sources. Moreover, this study demonstrates the validity of a chemo-enzymatic approach to polysaccharide synthesis, in which the simplicity and economy of glycosynthase technology is harnessed together with the exquisite specificity of glycosyltransferases to control molecular complexity.
    Journal of the American Chemical Society 05/2011; 133(28):10892-900. · 10.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The enzymatic transfer of the sugar mannose from activated sugar donors is central to the synthesis of a wide range of biologically significant polysaccharides and glycoconjugates. In addition to their importance in cellular biology, mannosyltransferases also provide model systems with which to study catalytic mechanisms of glycosyl transfer. Mannosylglycerate synthase (MGS) catalyzes the synthesis of α-mannosyl-d-glycerate using GDP-mannose as the preferred donor species, a reaction that occurs with a net retention of anomeric configuration. Past work has shown that the Rhodothermus marinus MGS, classified as a GT78 glycosyltransferase, displays a GT-A fold and performs catalysis in a metal ion-dependent manner. MGS shows very unusual metal ion dependences with Mg2+ and Ca2+ and, to a lesser extent, Mn2+, Ni2+, and Co2+, thus facilitating catalysis. Here, we probe these dependences through kinetic and calorimetric analyses of wild-type and site-directed variants of the enzyme. Mutation of residues that interact with the guanine base of GDP are correlated with a higher kcat value, whereas substitution of His-217, a key component of the metal coordination site, results in a change in metal specificity to Mn2+. Structural analyses of MGS complexes not only provide insight into metal coordination but also how lactate can function as an alternative acceptor to glycerate. These studies highlight the role of flexible loops in the active center and the subsequent coordination of the divalent metal ion as key factors in MGS catalysis and metal ion dependence. Furthermore, Tyr-220, located on a flexible loop whose conformation is likely influenced by metal binding, also plays a critical role in substrate binding.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2011; 286(17):15155-15164. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The enzymatic transfer of the sugar mannose from activated sugar donors is central to the synthesis of a wide range of biologically significant polysaccharides and glycoconjugates. In addition to their importance in cellular biology, mannosyltransferases also provide model systems with which to study catalytic mechanisms of glycosyl transfer. Mannosylglycerate synthase (MGS) catalyzes the synthesis of α-mannosyl-D-glycerate using GDP-mannose as the preferred donor species, a reaction that occurs with a net retention of anomeric configuration. Past work has shown that the Rhodothermus marinus MGS, classified as a GT78 glycosyltransferase, displays a GT-A fold and performs catalysis in a metal ion-dependent manner. MGS shows very unusual metal ion dependences with Mg(2+) and Ca(2+) and, to a lesser extent, Mn(2+), Ni(2+), and Co(2+), thus facilitating catalysis. Here, we probe these dependences through kinetic and calorimetric analyses of wild-type and site-directed variants of the enzyme. Mutation of residues that interact with the guanine base of GDP are correlated with a higher k(cat) value, whereas substitution of His-217, a key component of the metal coordination site, results in a change in metal specificity to Mn(2+). Structural analyses of MGS complexes not only provide insight into metal coordination but also how lactate can function as an alternative acceptor to glycerate. These studies highlight the role of flexible loops in the active center and the subsequent coordination of the divalent metal ion as key factors in MGS catalysis and metal ion dependence. Furthermore, Tyr-220, located on a flexible loop whose conformation is likely influenced by metal binding, also plays a critical role in substrate binding.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2011; 286(17):15155-64. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Gideon J Davies, Carlos Martinez-Fleites
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    ABSTRACT: Carbohydrates, their structures and the enzymes responsible for their synthesis and degradation, offer numerous possibilities for the design and application of probes with which to study and treat disease. The intracellular dynamic O-GlcNAc (O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine) modification is one such glycosylation with considerable medical interest, reflecting its implication in diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and neurodegeneration. In the present paper, we review recent structural and mechanistic studies into the enzymes responsible for this modification, highlighting how mechanism-inspired small-molecule probes may be applied to study potential disease processes. Such studies have questioned a causal link between O-GlcNAc and Type 2 diabetes, but do offer potential for the study, and perhaps the treatment, of tauopathies.
    Biochemical Society Transactions 10/2010; 38(5):1179-88. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The crystal structures of truncated forms of the Streptococcus pyogenes phage-encoded hyaluronate lyases HylP2 and HylP3 were determined by molecular replacement to 1.6 and 1.9 A resolution, respectively. The truncated forms crystallized in a hexagonal space group, forming a trimer around the threefold crystallographic axis. The arrangement of the fold is very similar to that observed in the structure of the related hyaluronate lyase HylP1. The structural elements putatively involved in substrate recognition are found to be conserved in both the HylP2 and HylP3 fragments.
    Acta Crystallographica Section F Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications 10/2009; 65(Pt 10):963-6. · 0.55 Impact Factor
  • Carlos Martinez-Fleites, Yuan He, Gideon J Davies
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    ABSTRACT: In order to study the O-GlcNAc modification in vivo, it is evident that a range of specific small molecule inhibitors would be a valuable asset. One strategy for the design of such compounds would be to utilise 3-D structural information in tandem with knowledge of catalytic mechanism. The last few years has seen major breakthroughs in our understanding of the 3-D structure of the enzymes involved in the O-GlcNAc modification notably from the study of the tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) domain of the human O-GlcNAc transferase, of the bacterial homologs of the O-GlcNAc hydrolase and more latterly bacterial homologs of the O-GlcNAc transferase itself. Of particular note are the bacterial O-GlcNAc hydrolase homologs that provide near identical active centres to the human enzyme. These have informed the design and/or subsequent analysis of inhibitors of this enzyme which have found great use in the chemical dissection of the O-GlcNAc in vivo, as described by Macauley and Vocadlo elsewhere in this issue.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 08/2009; 1800(2):122-33. · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Overexpression of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor (EGFR) in cancer cells correlates with tumor malignancy and poor prognosis for cancer patients. For this reason, the EGFR has become one of the main targets of anticancer therapies. Structural data obtained in the last few years have revealed the molecular mechanism for ligand-induced EGFR dimerization and subsequent signal transduction, and also how this signal is blocked by either monoclonal antibodies or small molecules. Nimotuzumab (also known as h-R3) is a humanized antibody that targets the EGFR and has been successful in the clinics. In this work, we report the crystal structure of the Fab fragment of Nimotuzumab, revealing some unique structural features in the heavy variable domain. Furthermore, competition assays show that Nimotuzumab binds to domain III of the extracellular region of the EGFR, within an area that overlaps with both the surface patch recognized by Cetuximab (another anti-EGFR antibody) and the binding site for EGF. A computer model of the Nimotuzumab-EGFR complex, constructed by docking and molecular dynamics simulations and supported by mutagenesis studies, unveils a novel mechanism of action, with Nimotuzumab blocking EGF binding while still allowing the receptor to adopt its active conformation, hence warranting a basal level of signaling.
    Cancer Research 08/2009; 69(14):5851-9. · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lysozymes are found in many of the sequence-based families of glycoside hydrolases (www.cazy.org) where they show considerable structural and mechanistic diversity. Lysozymes from glycoside hydrolase family GH25 adopt a (alpha/beta)(5)(beta)(3)-barrel-like fold with a proposal in the literature that these enzymes act with inversion of anomeric configuration; the lack of a suitable substrate, however, means that no group has successfully demonstrated the configuration of the product. Here we report the 3-D structure of the GH25 enzyme from Bacillus anthracis at 1.4A resolution. We show that the active center is extremely similar to those from glycoside hydrolase families GH18, GH20, GH56, GH84, and GH85 implying that, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, GH25 enzymes also act with net retention of anomeric configuration using the neighboring-group catalytic mechanism that is common to this 'super-family' of enzymes.
    Carbohydrate research 07/2009; 344(13):1753-7. · 2.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite decades of its use in diabetes research, the mechanism of cytotoxicity of streptozotocin (STZ) toward pancreatic beta-islet cells has remained a topic of discussion. Although STZ toxicity is likely a function of its capacity to promote DNA alkylation, it has been proposed that STZ induces pancreatic beta-cell death through O-GlcNAcase inhibition. In this report, we explore the binding mode of STZ to a close homolog of human O-GlcNAcase, BtGH84 from Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron. Our results show that STZ binds in the enzyme active site in its intact form, without the formation of a covalent adduct, consistent with solution studies on BtGH84 and human O-GlcNAcase, as well as with structural work on a homolog from Clostridium perfringens. The active site of the BtGH84 is considerably deformed upon STZ binding and as a result the catalytic machinery is expelled from the binding cavity.
    Carbohydrate research 01/2009; 344(5):627-31. · 2.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The O-GlcNAc post-translational modification is considered to act as a sensor of nutrient flux through the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway. A cornerstone of this hypothesis is that global elevation of protein O-GlcNAc levels, typically induced with the non-selective O-GlcNAcase inhibitor PUGNAc (O-(2-acetamido-2-deoxy-D-glycopyranosylidene) amino-N-phenylcarbamate), causes insulin resistance in adipocytes. Here we address the potential link between elevated O-GlcNAc and insulin resistance by using a potent and selective inhibitor of O-GlcNAcase (NButGT (1,2-dideoxy-2'-propyl-alpha-D-glucopyranoso-[2,1-D]-Delta 2'-thiazoline), 1200-fold selectivity). A comparison of the structures of a bacterial homologue of O-GlcNAcase in complex with PUGNAc or NButGT reveals that these inhibitors bind to the same region of the active site, underscoring the competitive nature of their inhibition of O-GlcNAcase and the molecular basis of selectivity. Treating 3T3-L1 adipocytes with NButGT induces rapid increases in global O-GlcNAc levels, but strikingly, NButGT treatment does not replicate the insulin desensitizing effects of the non-selective O-GlcNAcase inhibitor PUGNAc. Consistent with these observations, NButGT also does not recapitulate the impaired insulin-mediated phosphorylation of Akt that is induced by treatment with PUGNAc. Collectively, these results suggest that increases in global levels of O-GlcNAc-modified proteins of cultured adipocytes do not, on their own, cause insulin resistance.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2008; 283(50):34687-95. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    Karen M Ruane, Gideon J Davies, Carlos Martinez-Fleites
    Proteins Structure Function and Bioinformatics 09/2008; 73(3):784-7. · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: N-Acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) modification of proteins provides a mechanism for the control of diverse cellular processes through a dynamic interplay with phosphorylation. UDP-GlcNAc:polypeptidyl transferase (OGT) catalyzes O-GlcNAc addition. The structure of an intact OGT homolog and kinetic analysis of human OGT variants reveal a contiguous superhelical groove that directs substrates to the active site.
    Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 08/2008; 15(7):764-5. · 11.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The plant cell wall degrading apparatus of anaerobic bacteria includes a large multienzyme complex termed the "cellulosome." The complex assembles through the interaction of enzyme-derived dockerin modules with the multiple cohesin modules of the noncatalytic scaffolding protein. Here we report the crystal structure of the Clostridium cellulolyticum cohesin-dockerin complex in two distinct orientations. The data show that the dockerin displays structural symmetry reflected by the presence of two essentially identical cohesin binding surfaces. In one binding mode, visualized through the A16S/L17T dockerin mutant, the C-terminal helix makes extensive interactions with its cohesin partner. In the other binding mode observed through the A47S/F48T dockerin variant, the dockerin is reoriented by 180 degrees and interacts with the cohesin primarily through the N-terminal helix. Apolar interactions dominate cohesin-dockerin recognition that is centered around a hydrophobic pocket on the surface of the cohesin, formed by Leu-87 and Leu-89, which is occupied, in the two binding modes, by the dockerin residues Phe-19 and Leu-50, respectively. Despite the structural similarity between the C. cellulolyticum and Clostridium thermocellum cohesins and dockerins, there is no cross-specificity between the protein partners from the two organisms. The crystal structure of the C. cellulolyticum complex shows that organism-specific recognition between the protomers is dictated by apolar interactions primarily between only two residues, Leu-17 in the dockerin and the cohesin amino acid Ala-129. The biological significance of the plasticity in dockerin-cohesin recognition, observed here in C. cellulolyticum and reported previously in C. thermocellum, is discussed.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2008; 283(26):18422-30. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glycosylation of macrolide antibiotics confers host cell immunity from endogenous and exogenous agents. The Streptomyces antibioticus glycosyltransferases, OleI and OleD, glycosylate and inactivate oleandomycin and diverse macrolides including erythromycin, respectively. The structure of these enzyme-ligand complexes, in tandem with kinetic analysis of site-directed variants, provide insight into the interaction of macrolides with their synthetic apparatus. Erythromycin binds to OleD and the 23S RNA of its target ribosome in the same conformation and, although the antibiotic contains a large number of polar groups, its interaction with these macromolecules is primarily through hydrophobic contacts. Erythromycin and oleandomycin, when bound to OleD and OleI, respectively, adopt different conformations, reflecting a subtle effect on sugar positioning by virtue of a single change in the macrolide backbone. The data reported here provide structural insight into the mechanism of resistance to both endogenous and exogenous antibiotics, and will provide a platform for the future redesign of these catalysts for antibiotic remodelling.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2007; 104(13):5336-41. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glycosyltransferases (GTs) catalyze the synthesis of the myriad glycoconjugates that are central to life. One of the largest families is GT4, which contains several enzymes of therapeutic significance, exemplified by WaaG and AviGT4. WaaG catalyses a key step in lipopolysaccharide synthesis, while AviGT4, produced by Streptomyces viridochromogenes, contributes to the synthesis of the antibiotic avilamycin A. Here we present the crystal structure of both WaaG and AviGT4. The two enzymes contain two "Rossmann-like" (beta/alpha/beta) domains characteristic of the GT-B fold. Both recognition of the donor substrate and the catalytic machinery is similar to other retaining GTs that display the GT-B fold. Structural information is discussed with respect to the evolution of GTs and the therapeutic significance of the two enzymes.
    Chemistry & Biology 12/2006; 13(11):1143-52. · 6.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The enzymatic degradation of the plant cell wall is central both to the natural carbon cycle and, increasingly, to environmentally friendly routes to biomass conversion, including the production of biofuels. The plant cell wall is a complex composite of cellulose microfibrils embedded in diverse polysaccharides collectively termed hemicelluloses. Xyloglucan is one such polysaccharide whose hydrolysis is catalyzed by diverse xyloglucanases. Here we present the structure of the Clostridium thermocellum xyloglucanase Xgh74A in both apo and ligand-complexed forms. The structures, in combination with mutagenesis data on the catalytic residues and the kinetics and specificity of xyloglucan hydrolysis reveal a complex subsite specificity accommodating seventeen monosaccharide moieties of the multibranched substrate in an open substrate binding terrain.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2006; 281(34):24922-33. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glycosylation is a key mechanism for orchestrating the bioactivity, metabolism and location of small molecules in living cells. In plants, a large multigene family of glycosyltransferases is involved in these processes, conjugating hormones, secondary metabolites, biotic and abiotic environmental toxins, to impact directly on cellular homeostasis. The red grape enzyme UDP-glucose:flavonoid 3-O-glycosyltransferase (VvGT1) is responsible for the formation of anthocyanins, the health-promoting compounds which, in planta, function as colourants determining flower and fruit colour and are precursors for the formation of pigmented polymers in red wine. We show that VvGT1 is active, in vitro, on a range of flavonoids. VvGT1 is somewhat promiscuous with respect to donor sugar specificity as dissected through full kinetics on a panel of nine sugar donors. The three-dimensional structure of VvGT1 has also been determined, both in its 'Michaelis' complex with a UDP-glucose-derived donor and the acceptor kaempferol and in complex with UDP and quercetin. These structures, in tandem with kinetic dissection of activity, provide the foundation for understanding the mechanism of these enzymes in small molecule homeostasis.
    The EMBO Journal 04/2006; 25(6):1396-405. · 9.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The endophytic Gram-negative bacterium Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus SRT4 secretes a constitutively expressed levansucrase (LsdA, EC 2.4.1.10), which converts sucrose into fructooligosaccharides and levan. The enzyme is included in GH (glycoside hydrolase) family 68 of the sequence-based classification of glycosidases. The three-dimensional structure of LsdA has been determined by X-ray crystallography at a resolution of 2.5 A (1 A=0.1 nm). The structure was solved by molecular replacement using the homologous Bacillus subtilis (Bs) levansucrase (Protein Data Bank accession code 1OYG) as a search model. LsdA displays a five-bladed beta-propeller architecture, where the catalytic residues that are responsible for sucrose hydrolysis are perfectly superimposable with the equivalent residues of the Bs homologue. The comparison of both structures, the mutagenesis data and the analysis of GH68 family multiple sequences alignment show a strong conservation of the sucrose hydrolytic machinery among levansucrases and also a structural equivalence of the Bs levansucrase Ca2+-binding site to the LsdA Cys339-Cys395 disulphide bridge, suggesting similar fold-stabilizing roles. Despite the strong conservation of the sucrose-recognition site observed in LsdA, Bs levansucrase and GH32 family Thermotoga maritima invertase, structural differences appear around residues involved in the transfructosylation reaction.
    Biochemical Journal 09/2005; 390(Pt 1):19-27. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The enzymatic transfer of activated mannose yields mannosides in glycoconjugates and oligo- and polysaccharides. Yet, despite its biological necessity, the mechanism by which glycosyltransferases recognize mannose and catalyze its transfer to acceptor molecules is poorly understood. Here, we report broad high-throughput screening and kinetic analyses of both natural and synthetic substrates of Rhodothermus marinus mannosylglycerate synthase (MGS), which catalyzes the formation of the stress protectant 2-O-alpha-D-mannosyl glycerate. The sequence of MGS indicates that it is at the cusp of inverting and retaining transferases. The structures of apo MGS and complexes with donor and acceptor molecules, including GDP-mannose, combined with mutagenesis of the binding and catalytic sites, unveil the mannosyl transfer center. Nucleotide specificity is as important in GDP-D-mannose recognition as the nature of the donor sugar.
    Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 08/2005; 12(7):608-14. · 11.90 Impact Factor
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    Tirso Pons, Daniil G Naumoff, Carlos Martínez-Fleites, Lázaro Hernández
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    ABSTRACT: Multiple-sequence alignment of glycoside hydrolase (GH) families 32, 43, 62, and 68 revealed three conserved blocks, each containing an acidic residue at an equivalent position in all the enzymes. A detailed analysis of the site-directed mutations so far performed on invertases (GH32), arabinanases (GH43), and bacterial fructosyltransferases (GH68) indicated a direct implication of the conserved residues Asp/Glu (block I), Asp (block II), and Glu (block III) in substrate binding and hydrolysis. These residues are close in space in the 5-bladed beta-propeller fold determined for Cellvibrio japonicus alpha-L-arabinanase Arb43A [Nurizzo et al., Nat Struct Biol 2002;9:665-668] and Bacillus subtilis endo-1,5-alpha-L-arabinanase. A sequence-structure compatibility search using 3D-PSSM, mGenTHREADER, INBGU, and SAM-T02 programs predicted indistinctly the 5-bladed beta-propeller fold of Arb43A and the 6-bladed beta-propeller fold of sialidase/neuraminidase (GH33, GH34, and GH83) as the most reliable topologies for GH families 32, 62, and 68. We conclude that the identified acidic residues are located at the active site of a beta-propeller architecture in GH32, GH43, GH62, and GH68, operating with a canonical reaction mechanism of either inversion (GH43 and likely GH62) or retention (GH32 and GH68) of the anomeric configuration. Also, we propose that the beta-propeller architecture accommodates distinct binding sites for the acceptor saccharide in glycosyl transfer reaction.
    Proteins Structure Function and Bioinformatics 03/2004; 54(3):424-32. · 3.34 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

599 Citations
130.09 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2005–2011
    • Newcastle University
      • Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences
      Newcastle upon Tyne, ENG, United Kingdom
    • The University of York
      • York Structural Biology Laboratory
      York, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2003
    • Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
      La Habana, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba