Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 12812490
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2003 Jun;125(25):7532-3
Modified sialic acid substrates have been used to label Trypanosoma cruzi trans-sialidase, demonstrating that the enzyme catalyses the transfer of sialic acid through a covalent glycosyl-enzyme intermediate, a mechanism common to most retaining glycosidases. Peptic digestion of labeled protein, followed by LC-MS/MS analysis of the digest, identified Tyr342 as the catalytic nucleophile. This is the first such example of a retaining glycosidase utilizing an aryl glycoside intermediate. It is suggested that this alternative choice of nucleophile is a consequence of the chemical nature of sialic acid. A Tyr/Glu couple is invoked to relay charge from a remote glutamic acid, thereby avoiding electrostatic repulsion with the sialic acid carboxylate group.