Three Streptococcus pneumoniae sialidases: three different products

J Am Chem Soc. 2011 Feb 16;133(6):1718-21. doi: 10.1021/ja110733q. Epub 2011 Jan 18.


Streptococcus penumoniae is a major human pathogen responsible for respiratory tract infections, septicemia, and meningitis and continues to produce numerous cases of disease with relatively high mortalities. S. pneumoniae encodes up to three sialidases, NanA, NanB, and NanC, that have been implicated in pathogenesis and are potential drug targets. NanA has been shown to be a promiscuous sialidase, hydrolyzing the removal of Neu5Ac from a variety of glycoconjugates with retention of configuration at the anomeric center, as we confirm by NMR. NanB is an intramolecular trans-sialidase producing 2,7-anhydro-Neu5Ac selectively from α2,3-sialosides. Here, we show that the first product of NanC is 2-deoxy-2,3-didehydro-N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac2en) that can be slowly hydrated by the enzyme to Neu5Ac. We propose that the three pneumococcal sialidases share a common catalytic mechanism up to the final product formation step, and speculate on the roles of the enzymes in the lifecycle of the bacterium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biocatalysis
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Molecular
  • Neuraminidase / chemistry
  • Neuraminidase / metabolism*
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / enzymology*


  • Neuraminidase