The Lighter Side of a Sweet Reaction

Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.
Structure (Impact Factor: 5.62). 06/2010; 18(6):657-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.str.2010.05.006
Source: PubMed


The unique advantage of neutrons as biological probes is the ability to visualize hydrogen atoms in macromolecules. In this issue, Kovalevsky et al. (2010) solved an ensemble of xylose isomerase structures by neutron crystallography, and the determination of hydrogen atom rearrangements during the catalytic cycle provides insight into the enzyme's mechanism.

Full-text preview

Available from:
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The role of two amino acid residues linked to the two catalytic histidines His54 and His220 in kinetics and physicochemical properties of the Streptomyces sp. SK glucose isomerase (SKGI) was investigated by site-directed mutagenesis and molecular modeling. Two single mutations, F53L and G219D, and a double mutation F53L/G219D was introduced into the xylA SKGI gene. The F53L mutation increases the thermostability and the catalytic efficiency and also slightly shifts the optimum pH from 6.5 to 7, but displays a profile being similar to that of the wild-type enzyme concerning the effect of various metal ions. The G219D mutant is resistant to calcium inhibition retaining about 80% of its residual activity in 10 mM Ca²⁺ instead of 10% for the wild-type. This variant is activated by Mn²⁺ ions, but not Co²⁺, as seen for the wild-type enzyme. It does not require the latter for its thermostability, but has its half-life time displaced from 50 to 20 min at 85°C. The double mutation F53L/G219D restores the thermostability as seen for the wild-type enzyme while maintaining the resistance to the calcium inhibition. Molecular modeling suggests that the increase in thermostability is due to new hydrophobic interactions stabilizing α2 helix and that the resistance to calcium inhibition is a result of narrowing the binding site of catalytic ion.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2011 · Journal of Industrial Microbiology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: 5-(Hydroxymethyl)furfural (HMF) and levulinic acid production from glucose in a cascade of reactions using a Lewis acid (CrCl3) catalyst together with a Brønsted acid (HCl) catalyst in aqueous media is investigated. It is shown that CrCl3 is an active Lewis acid catalyst in glucose isomerization to fructose, and the combined Lewis and Brønsted acid catalysts perform the isomerization and dehydration/rehydration reactions. A CrCl3 speciation model in conjunction with kinetics results indicates that the hydrolyzed Cr(III) complex [Cr(H2O)5OH]2+ is the most active Cr species in glucose isomerization and probably acts as a Lewis acid-Brønsted base bifunctional site. Extended X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy and Car-Parrinello molecular dynamics simulations indicate a strong interaction between the Cr cation and the glucose molecule whereby some water molecules are displaced from the first coordination sphere of Cr by the glucose to enable ring-opening and isomerization of glucose. Additionally, complex interactions between the two catalysts are revealed: Brønsted acidity retards aldose-to-ketose isomerization by decreasing the equilibrium concentration of [Cr(H2O)5OH]2+. In contrast, Lewis acidity increases the overall rate of consumption of fructose and HMF compared to Brønsted acid catalysis by promoting side reactions. Even in the absence of HCl, hydrolysis of Cr(III) decreases the solution pH, and this intrinsic Brønsted acidity drives the dehydration and rehydration reactions. Yields of 46% levulinic acid in a single phase and 59% HMF in a biphasic system have been achieved at moderate temperatures by combining CrCl3 and HCl.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · Journal of the American Chemical Society