Background: Glucosamine 6-phosphate deaminase from Escherichia coli is an allosteric hexameric enzyme which catalyzes the reversible conversion of D-glucosamine 6-phosphate into D-fructose 6-phosphate and ammonium ion and is activated by N-acetyl-D-glucosamine 6-phosphate. Mechanistically, it belongs to the group of aldoseketose isomerases, but its reaction also accomplishes a simultaneous amination/deamination. The determination of the structure of this protein provides fundamental knowledge for understanding its mode of action and the nature of allosteric conformational changes that regulate its function.
Results: The crystal structure of glucosamine 6-phosphate deaminase with bound phosphate ions is presented at 2.1 A resolution together with the refined structures of the enzyme in complexes with its allosteric activator and with a competitive inhibitor. The protein fold can be described as a modified NAD-binding domain.
Conclusions: From the similarities between the three presented structures, it is concluded that these represent the enzymatically active R state conformer. A mechanism for the deaminase reaction is proposed. It comprises steps to open the pyranose ring of the substrate and a sequence of general base-catalyzed reactions to bring about isomerization and deamination, with Asp72 playing a key role as a proton exchanger.