Abstract

Of the increasing number of sialidases found to be made by microorganisms, the trypanosome trans-sialidase is unique in its added ability to efficiently carry out a sialyltransferase reaction using preformed glymonjugates. The enzyme is predicted to have a multidomain structure, with one domain containing sequence and expected structural features found in bacterial sialidases. The trans-sialidase is very similar in overall sequence to another trypanosome enzyme that has only sialidase activity. Hybrid expression constructs containing pieces of these trypanosome transsialidase and sialidase genes were used to determine which regions of trans-sialidase are required for sialyltransferase activity. Two domains were found to influence the enzymatic activity: the N-terminal catalytic domain, and a downstream domain that resembles an Fn3-like module.