Requires a divalent metal ion (the enzyme from the bacterium Escherichia coli prefers Mn2+). The enzyme binds the closed form of the sugar and catalyses ring opening to generate a form of open-chain conformation that facilitates the isomerization reaction, which proceeds via an ene-diol mechanism . The enzyme catalyses the aldose-ketose isomerization of several sugars. Most enzymes also catalyse the reaction of EC 126.96.36.199, L-fucose isomerase . The enzyme from the bacterium Falsibacillus pallidus also converts D-altrose to D-psicose . cf. EC 188.8.131.52, L-arabinose isomerase.
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