Kinetic and structural evaluation of selected active site mutants of the Aspergillus fumigatus KDNase (sialidase)

Juliana H F Yeung, Judith C Telford, Fahimeh S Shidmoossavee, Andrew J Bennet, Garry L Taylor, Margo M Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Aspergillus fumigatus is an airborne fungal pathogen. We previously cloned and characterized an exo-sialidase from A. fumigatus and showed that it preferred 2-keto-3-deoxynononic acid (KDN) as a substrate to N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac). The purpose of this study was to investigate the structure-function relationships of critical catalytic site residues. Site-directed mutagenesis was used to create three mutant recombinant enzymes: the catalytic nucleophile (Y358H), the general acid/base catalyst (D84A), and an enlargement of the binding pocket to attempt to accommodate the N-acetyl group of Neu5Ac (R171L). Crystal structures for all enzymes were determined. The D84A mutation had an effect in decreasing the activity of AfKDNase that was stronger than that of the same mutation in the structurally similar sialidase from the bacterium Micromonospora viridifaciens. These data suggest that the catalytic acid is more important in the reaction of AfKDNase and that catalysis is less dependent on nucleophilic or electrostatic stabilization of the developing positive charge at the transition state for hydrolysis. Removal of the catalytic nucleophile (Y358H) significantly lowered the activity of the enzyme, but this mutant remained a retaining glycosidase as demonstrated by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopic analysis. This is a novel finding that has not been shown with other sialidases. Kinetic activity measured at pH 5.2 revealed that R171L had higher activity on a Neu5Ac-based substrate than wild-type KDNase; hence, leucine in place of arginine in the binding pocket improved catalysis toward Neu5Ac substrates. Hence, whether a sialidase is primarily a KDNase or a neuraminidase is due in part to the presence of an amino acid that creates a steric clash with the N-acetyl group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9177-86
Number of pages10
Issue number51
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2013


  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Aspergillus fumigatus
  • Biocatalysis
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Glycoside Hydrolases
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hydrolysis
  • Keto Acids
  • Kinetics
  • Micromonospora
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Mutant Proteins
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid
  • Neuraminidase
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Substrate Specificity


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