The enzymatic hydrolysis of the glycosidic bond is catalyzed by diverse enzymes generically termed glycoside hydrolases (hereafter GHs) or glycosidases. The many sequence based families of glycosidases have served as a rich hunting ground for enzymologists for years. Not only are these enzymes of fundamental Interest, providing paradigms for enzymatic catalysis that extend beyond the bounds of carbohydrate chemistry, but the enzymes themselves play myriad essential roles in diverse biological processes. The wide utility of glycosidases, from their industrial harnessing in the hydrolysis of plant biomass to their roles in human physiology and disease, has engendered a large scientific constituency with an interest in glycosidase chemistry.
A fascinating thread of this research, and one with major impact on the design of enzyme inhibitors, is the conformational analysis of reaction pathways within the diverse families. These GH families provide a large pallet of enzymes with which chemists have attempted to depict the conformational landscape of glycosidase action. In this Account, we review three-dimensional insight into the conformational changes directed by glycosidases, primarily from structural observations of the stable enzyme ligand species adjacent to the transition state (or states) and of enzyme inhibitor complexes. We further show how recent computational advances dovetail with structural insight to provide a quantum mechanical basis for glycosidase action.
The glycosidase-mediated hydrolysis of the acetal or ketal bond in a glycoside may occur with either inversion or retention of the configuration of the anomeric carbon. Inversion involves a single step and transition state, whereas retention, often referred to as the double displacement, is a two-step process with two transition states. The single transition state for the inverting enzymes and the two transition states (those flanking the covalent intermediate) in the double displacement have been shown to have substantial oxocarbenium ion character. The dissociative nature of these transition states results in significant relative positive charge accumulation on the pyranose ring. The delocalization of lone-pair electrons from the ring oxygen that stabilizes the cationic transition state implies that at, or close to, the transition states the pyranose will be distorted away from its lowest energy conformation to one that favors orbital overlap.
Over the preceding decade, research has highlighted the harnessing of noncovalent interactions to aid this distortion of the sugar substrates from their lowest energy chair conformation to a variety of different boat, skew boat, and half-chair forms, each of which favors catalysis with a given enzyme and substrate. Crystallographic observation of stable species that flank the transition state (or states), of both retaining and inverting glycosidases, has allowed a description of their conformational itineraries, Illustrating how enzymes facilitate the "electrophilic migration" of the anomeric center along the reaction coordinate.
The blossoming of computational approaches, such as ab initio metadynamics, has underscored the quantum mechanical basis for glycoside hydrolysis. Conformational analyses highlight not only the Itineraries used by enzymes, enabling their inhibition, but are also reflected in the nonenzymatic synthesis of glycosides, wherein chemists mimic strategies found in nature.
- GLYCOSYL-ENZYME INTERMEDIATE
- FREE-ENERGY LANDSCAPE
- STRUCTURAL INSIGHTS
- CATALYTIC MECHANISM
- CELLOBIOHYDROLASE CEL6A
- SUBSTRATE DISTORTION