Structural basis for substrate recognition in the Phytolacca americana glycosyltransferase PaGT3

Rakesh Maharjan, Yohta Fukuda, Taisuke Nakayama, Toru Nakayama, Hiroki Hamada, Shin Ichi Ozaki, Tsuyoshi Inoue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Capsaicinoids are phenolic compounds that have health benefits. However, the pungency and poor water solubility of these compounds limit their exploitation. Glycosylation is a powerful method to improve water solubility and reduce pungency while preserving bioactivity. PaGT3, a uridine diphosphate glycosyltransferase (UGT) from Phytolacca americana, is known for its ability to glycosylate capsaicinoids and other phenolic compounds. While structural information on several UGTs is available, structures of UGTs that can glycosylate a range of phenolic compounds are rare. To fill this gap, crystal structures of PaGT3 with a sugar-donor analogue (UDP-2-fluoroglucose) and the acceptors capsaicin and kaempferol were determined. PaGT3 adopts a GT-Bfold structure that is highly conserved among UGTs. However, the acceptorbinding pocket in PaGT3 is hydrophobic and large, and is surrounded by longer loops. The larger acceptor-binding pocket in PaGT3 allows the enzyme to bind a range of compounds, while the flexibility of the longer loops possibly plays a role in accommodating the acceptors in the binding pocket according to their shape and size. This structural information provides insights into the acceptor-binding mechanism in UGTs that bind multiple substrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-389
Number of pages11
JournalActa Crystallographica Section D: Structural Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar 1


  • UGT
  • capsaicin
  • crown ethers
  • glycosylation
  • kaempferol
  • polyphenols
  • protein crystallization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology


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