J Biol Chem 1999 Aug;274(33):22949-56
Department of Applied Molecular Biosciences, Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan.
Although the deaminoneuraminic acid or KDN glycotope (2-keto-3-deoxy-D-glycero-D-galacto-nononic acid) is expressed in glycoconjugates that range in evolutionary diversity from bacteria to man, there is little information as to how this novel sugar is synthesized. Accordingly, biosynthetic studies were initiated in trout testis, an organ rich in KDN, to determine how this sialic acid is formed. These studies have shown that the pathway consists of the following three sequential reactions: 1) Man + ATP --> Man-6-P + ADP; 2) Man-6-P + PEP --> KDN-9-P + P(i); 3) KDN-9-P --> KDN + P(i). Reaction 1, catalyzed by a hexokinase, is the 6-O-phosphorylation of mannose to form D-mannose 6-phosphate (Man-6-P). Reaction 2, catalyzed by KDN-9-phosphate (KDN-9-P) synthetase, condenses Man-6-P and phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) to form KDN-9-P. Reaction 3, catalyzed by a phosphatase, is the dephosphorylation of KDN-9-P to yield free KDN. It is not known if a kinase specific for Man (Reaction 1) and a phosphatase specific for KDN-9-P (Reaction 3) may exist in tissues actively synthesizing KDN. In this study, the KDN-9-P synthetase, an enzyme that has not been previously described, was identified as at least one key enzyme that is specific for the KDN biosynthetic pathway. This enzyme was purified 50-fold from rainbow trout testis and characterized. The molecular weight of the enzyme was estimated to be about 80,000, and activity was maximum at neutral pH in the presence of Mn(2+). N-Acetylneuraminic acid 9-phosphate (Neu5Ac-9-P) synthetase, which catalyzes the condensation of N-acetyl-D-mannosamine 6-phosphate and phosphoenol-pyruvate to produce Neu5Ac-9-P, was co-purified with the KDN-9-P synthetase. Substrate competition experiments revealed, however, that syntheses of KDN-9-P and Neu5Ac-9-P were catalyzed by two separate synthetase activities. The significance of these studies takes on added importance with the recent discovery that the level of free KDN is elevated in human fetal cord but not matched adult red blood cells and in ovarian cancer cells (Inoue, S., Lin, S-L., Chang, T., Wu, S-H., Yao, C-W., Chu, T-Y., Troy, F. A., II, and Inoue, Y. (1998) J. Biol. Chem. 273, 27199-27204). This unexpected finding emphasizes the need to understand more fully the role that free KDN and KDN-glycoconjugates may play in normal hematopoiesis and malignancy.