Fluorinated sugar-1-phosphates are of emerging importance as intermediates in the chemical and biocatalytic synthesis of modified oligosaccharides, as well as probes for chemical biology. Here we present a systematic study of the activity of a wide range of anomeric sugar kinases (galacto- and N-acetylhexosamine kinases) against a panel of fluorinated monosaccharides, leading to the first examples of polyfluorinated substrates accepted by this class of enzymes. We have discovered four new N-acetylhexosamine kinases with a different substrate scope, thus expanding the number of homologs available in this subclass of kinases. Lastly, we have solved the crystal structure of a galactokinase in complex with 2-deoxy-2-fluoro galactose, giving insight into changes in the active site that may account for the specificity of the enzyme towards certain substrate analogues.
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