Three new Nudix hydrolases from Escherichia coli.
3′-Phosphoadenosine-5′-phosphosulfate (PAPS) is the obligate cosubstrate and source of the sulfonate group in the chemoenzymatic synthesis of heparin, a clinically used anticoagulant drug. Previously, we have developed a method to synthesize PAPS with Escherichia coli crude extracts, which include three overexpressed enzymes and a fourth unidentified protein. The unknown protein degrades adenosine diphosphate (ADP), the by-product of PAPS synthesis reaction. To further understand and control the process of in vitro enzymatic PAPS synthesis, we decide to identify the fourth protein and develop a defined method to synthesize PAPS using purified enzymes. Here, we show that the purified Nudix hydrolase NudJ degrades ADP at high efficiency and serves as the fourth enzyme in PAPS synthesis. Under the defined condition of PAPS synthesis, all of the 10-mM ADP is hydrolyzed to form adenosine monophosphate (AMP) in a 15-min reaction. ADP is a better substrate for NudJ than adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Most importantly, the purified NudJ does not cleave the product PAPS. The removal of ADP makes the PAPS peak more separable from other components in the chromatographic purification process. This developed enzymatic approach of PAPS production will contribute to the chemoenzymatic synthesis of heparin.