Fluorosugar chain termination agents as probes of the sequence specificity of a carbohydrate polymerase

J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Apr 18;134(15):6552-5. doi: 10.1021/ja301723p. Epub 2012 Apr 10.


Naturally occurring carbohydrate polymers are ubiquitous. They are assembled by polymerizing glycosyltransferases, which can generate polysaccharide products with repeating sequence patterns. The fidelity of enzymes of this class is unknown. We report a method for testing the fidelity of carbohydrate polymerase pattern deposition: we synthesized fluorosugar donors and used them as chain termination agents. The requisite nucleotide fluorosugars could be produced from a single intermediate using the Jacobsen catalyst in a kinetically controlled separation of diastereomers. The resulting fluorosugar donors were used by the galactofuranosyltransferase GlfT2 from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and the data indicate that this enzyme mediates the cell wall galactan production through a sequence-specific polymerization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Carbohydrate Sequence*
  • Galactosyltransferases / metabolism
  • Glycosyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / enzymology
  • Polymerization
  • Polysaccharides / biosynthesis*
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid*


  • Polysaccharides
  • Glycosyltransferases
  • Galactosyltransferases