The three-dimensional structure of acarbose bound to glycogen phosphorylase.

E. J. Goldsmith, R. J. Fletterick, S. G. Withers

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5 Scopus citations


Acarbose, a pseudotetrasaccharide with a conduritol ring at the nonreducing terminus, is a naturally occurring inhibitor of amylases. It is shown here to be an inhibitor of glycogen phosphorylase and to bind more tightly to the enzyme than the equivalent malto-oligosaccharide substrate. X-ray crystallographic studies of the acarbose-phosphorylase a complex in the presence of glucose and caffeine reveal the structure of acarbose as bound to the storage site of phosphorylase. The acarbose binds in an orientation such that the conduritol ring makes no protein contacts. As with malto-oligosaccharides bound at this site, the observed conformation of acarbose is stabilized by O-2-O-3' hydrogen bonding and is similar to, but not identical with, that predicted by hard-sphere exo-anomeric effect calculations and justified by 1H nuclear magnetic resonance studies (Bock, K., and Pedersen, H. (1984) Carbohydr. Res. 132, 142-149). Intramolecular O2-O3' hydrogen bonds appear to play an important role in stabilizing the conformation observed in these studies, even for those residues closely associated with the protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1449-1455
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 5 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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