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UDP-glucose is an R-state inhibitor of glycogen phosphorylase b, competitive with the substrate, glucose 1-phosphate and noncompetitive with the allosteric activator, AMP. Diffusion of 100 mM UDP-glucose into crystals of phosphorylase b resulted in a difference Fourier synthesis at 0.3-nm resolution that showed two peaks: (a) binding at the allosteric site and (b) binding at the catalytic site. At the allosteric site the whole of the UDP-glucose molecule can be located. It is in a well defined folded conformation with its uracil portion in a similar position to that observed for the adenine of AMP. The uracil and the glucose moieties stack against the aromatic side chains of Tyr-75 and Phe-196, respectively. The phosphates of the pyrophosphate component interact with Arg-242, Arg-309 and Arg-310. At the catalytic site, the glucose-1-P component of UDP-glucose is firmly bound in a position similar to that observed for glucose 1-phosphate. The pyrophosphate is also well located with the glucose phosphate interacting with the main-chain NH groups at the start of the glycine-loop alpha helix and the uridine phosphate interacting through a water molecule with the 5'-phosphate of the cofactor pyridoxal phosphate and with the side chains of residues Tyr-573, Lys-574 and probably Arg-569. However the position of the uridine cannot be located although analysis by thin-layer chromatography showed that no degradation had taken place. Binding of UDP-glucose to the catalytic site promotes extensive conformational changes. The loop 279-288 which links the catalytic site to the nucleoside inhibitor site is displaced and becomes mobile. Concomitant movements of residues His-571, Arg-569, and the loop 378-383, together with the major loop displacement, result in an open channel to the catalytic site. Comparison with other structural results shows that these changes form an essential feature of the T to R transition. They allow formation of the phosphate recognition site at the catalytic site and destroy the nucleoside inhibitor site. Kinetic experiments demonstrate that UDP-glucose activates the enzyme in the presence of high concentrations of the weak activator IMP, because of its ability to decrease the affinity of IMP for the inhibitor site.


Journal article


Eur J Biochem

Publication Date





569 - 578


Allosteric Site, Binding, Competitive, Catalysis, Chemical Phenomena, Chemistry, Enzyme Activation, Hydrogen Bonding, Inosine Monophosphate, Models, Molecular, Phosphorylases, Protein Conformation, Structure-Activity Relationship, Uridine Diphosphate Glucose, Uridine Diphosphate Sugars, X-Ray Diffraction