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Sialidases (EC or neuraminidases) remove sialic acid from sialoglycoconjugates, are widely distributed in nature, and have been implicated in the pathogenesis of many diseases. The three-dimensional structure of influenza virus sialidase is known, and we now report the three-dimensional structure of a bacterial sialidase, from Salmonella typhimurium LT2, at 2.0-A resolution and the structure of its complex with the inhibitor 2-deoxy-2,3-dehydro-N-acetylneuraminic acid at 2.2-A resolution. The viral enzyme is a tetramer; the bacterial enzyme, a monomer. Although the monomers are of similar size (approximately 380 residues), the sequence similarity is low (approximately 15%). The viral enzyme contains at least eight disulfide bridges, conserved in all strains, and binds Ca2+, which enhances activity; the bacterial enzyme contains one disulfide and does not bind Ca2+. Comparison of the two structures shows a remarkable similarity both in the general fold and in the spatial arrangement of the catalytic residues. However, an rms fit of 3.1 A between 264 C alpha atoms of the S. typhimurium enzyme and those from an influenza A virus reflects some major differences in the fold. In common with the viral enzyme, the bacterial enzyme active site consists of an arginine triad, a hydrophobic pocket, and a key tyrosine and glutamic acid, but differences in the interactions with the O4 and glycerol groups of the inhibitor reflect differing kinetics and substrate preferences of the two enzymes. The repeating "Asp-box" motifs observed among the nonviral sialidase sequences occur at topologically equivalent positions on the outside of the structure. Implications of the structure for the catalytic mechanism, evolution, and secretion of the enzyme are discussed.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





9852 - 9856


Amino Acid Sequence, Binding Sites, Influenza A virus, Influenza B virus, Models, Molecular, Molecular Sequence Data, Neuraminidase, Protein Structure, Secondary, Salmonella typhimurium, Sequence Homology, Amino Acid, X-Ray Diffraction