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Thermodynamic reaction control of nucleoside phosphorolysis

Kaspar, Felix; Giessmann, Robert T.; Neubauer, Peter; Wagner, Anke; Gimpel, Matthias

Nucleoside analogs represent a class of important drugs for cancer and antiviral treatments. Nucleoside phosphorylases (NPases) catalyze the phosphorolysis of nucleosides and are widely employed for the synthesis of pentose‐1‐phosphates and nucleoside analogs, which are difficult to access via conventional synthetic methods. However, for the vast majority of nucleosides, it has been observed that either no or incomplete conversion of the starting materials is achieved in NPase‐catalyzed reactions. For some substrates, it has been shown that these reactions are reversible equilibrium reactions that adhere to the law of mass action. In this contribution, we broadly demonstrate that nucleoside phosphorolysis is a thermodynamically controlled endothermic reaction that proceeds to a reaction equilibrium dictated by the substrate‐specific equilibrium constant of phosphorolysis, irrespective of the type or amount of NPase used, as shown by several examples. Furthermore, we explored the temperature‐dependency of nucleoside phosphorolysis equilibrium states and provide the apparent transformed reaction enthalpy and apparent transformed reaction entropy for 24 nucleosides, confirming that these conversions are thermodynamically controlled endothermic reactions. This data allows calculation of the Gibbs free energy and, consequently, the equilibrium constant of phosphorolysis at any given reaction temperature. Overall, our investigations revealed that pyrimidine nucleosides are generally more susceptible to phosphorolysis than purine nucleosides. The data disclosed in this work allow the accurate prediction of phosphorolysis or transglycosylation yields for a range of pyrimidine and purine nucleosides and thus serve to empower further research in the field of nucleoside biocatalysis.
Published in: Advanced Synthesis & Catalysis, 10.1002/adsc.201901230, Wiley