UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

A detailed kinetic and mechanistic study of a retaining a[alpha]-1,4-galactosyltransferase from Neisseria meningitidis Ly, Hoa D.


Lipopolysaccharyl α-1,4-galactosyltransferase C (EC 2.4.1.x, LgtC) from Neisseria meningitidis is an important enzyme in the biosynthesis of lipooligosaccharides in this bacterium. The reaction catalyzed by this enzyme is the transfer of a galactosyl moiety from uridine diphosphogalactose (UDPGal) to a lipooligosaccharide acceptor containing a galactose residue at the nonreducing terminus, forming a Gal-α-1,4-Gal linkage in the process. Because the reaction proceeds with net retention of stereochemistry at the centre undergoing substitution, LgtC is classified as a "retaining" glycosyltransferase. By analogy with the well studied retaining glycosidases, LgtC is therefore believed to follow a double displacement mechanism involving the formation and subsequent breakdown of a covalent glycosyl-enzyme intermediate. A detailed kinetic and mechanistic characterization of LgtC was carried out. This enzyme was found to be highly specific for the donor substrate, UDPGal, binding this compound with micromolar affinity. As for the acceptor substrate, the enzyme is far less selective, as a range of compounds was found to be capable of fulfilling this role. In the absence of suitable glycosyl acceptors, water was also found to be capable of functioning in such a capacity, with the result being hydrolysis of UDPGal to yield UDP and galactose. Since the reaction catalyzed by LgtC involves the binding of two substrates and the release of two products, an understanding of the order in which these events occur is also important to the characterization of this enzyme. On the basis of kinetic studies together with a UDPGal/UDP exchange study, LgtC was deduced to follow a sequential kinetic mechanism, which requires that all substrates be bound to the enzyme before any chemical catalysis and release of products can occur. Further clarification of the order of substrate binding and product release was then achieved through a series of inhibition studies with both substrate analogues and product. On the basis of these studies, LgtC was concluded to follow an ordered Bl Bl kinetic mechanism in which UDPGal binds first, followed by lactose. After catalysis, the trisaccharide is the first product to be released, followed by UDP. In our quest to understand the chemical mechanism of LgtC, much effort was directed towards the attempted trapping of the putative covalent glycosyl-enzyme intermediate and identification of the nucleophile involved in its formation. When these endeavours were unsuccessful, alternatives to the double displacement mechanism, wherein the nucleophile is not enzymic were then sought. With the aid of the threedimensional structure of this enzyme, all candidate nucleophiles were identified and assessed for their ability to fulfill such a role. Unfortunately, none appeared to be likely to function in such a capacity. Another possibility is that LgtC does not employ a double displacement mechanism, but rather proceeds through an Swi-like mechanism involving the approach of the nucleophile from the same side of the reaction centre as the departing leaving group. However, such a mechanism is not well precedented and no concrete evidence is available to support its occurrence in LgtC. Therefore, at this point in time, the mechanism by which LgtC catalyzes its glycosyl transfer reaction is still a mystery.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.