Homologues of the putative dehydrogenase YjhC are found in operons involved in the metabolism of N-acetylneuraminate (Neu5Ac) or related compounds. We observed that purified recombinant YjhC forms Neu5Ac from two dehydrated forms of this compound, 2,7-anhydro-N-acetylneuraminate (2,7-AN) and 2-deoxy-2,3-didehydro-N-acetylneuraminate (2,3-EN) that are produced during the degradation of sialoconjugates by some sialidases. The conversion of 2,7-AN into Neu5Ac is reversible and reaches its equilibrium when the ratio of 2,7-AN to Neu5Ac is ≈1/6. The conversion of 2,3-EN is irreversible, leading to a mixture of Neu5Ac and 2,7-AN. NMR analysis of the reaction catalysed by YjhC on 2,3-EN indicated that Neu5Ac was produced as the α-anomer. All conversions require NAD+ as a cofactor, which is regenerated in the reaction. They appear to involve the formation of keto (presumably 4-keto) intermediates of 2,7-AN, 2,3-EN and Neu5Ac, which were detected by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). The proposed reaction mechanism is reminiscent of the one catalysed by family 4 β-glycosidases, which also use NAD+ as a cofactor. Both 2,7-AN and 2,3-EN support the growth of Escherichia coli provided the repressor NanR, which negatively controls the expression of the yjhBC operons, has been inactivated. Inactivation of either YjhC or YjhB in NanR-deficient cells prevents the growth on 2,7-AN and 2,3-EN. This confirms the role of YjhC in 2,7-AN and 2,3-EN metabolism and indicates that transport of 2,7-AN and 2,3-EN is carried out by YjhB, which is homologous to the Neu5Ac transporter NanT.
The putative Escherichia coli dehydrogenase YjhC metabolises two dehydrated forms of N-acetylneuraminate produced by some sialidases / Kentache, T.; Thabault, L.; Peracchi, A.; Frederick, R.; Bommer, G. T.; van Schaftingen, E.. - In: BIOSCIENCE REPORTS. - ISSN 0144-8463. - 40:6(2020), p. BSR20200927. [10.1042/BSR20200927]