Practical syntheses of 2-keto-3-deoxy-D-xylonate (D-KDX) and 2-keto-3-deoxy-L-arabinonate (L-KDA) that rely on reaction of the anion of ethyl 2-[(tert-butyldimethylsilyl)oxy]-2-(dimethoxy phosphoryl) acetate with enantiopure glyceraldehyde acetonide, followed by global deprotection of the resultant O-silyl-enol esters, have been developed. This has enabled us to confirm that a 2-keto-3-deoxy-D-gluconate aldolase from the archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus demonstrates good activity for catalysis of the retro-aldol cleavage of both these enantiomers to afford pyruvate and glycolaldehyde. The stereochemical promiscuity of this aldolase towards these enantiomeric aldol substrates confirms that this organism employs a metabolically promiscuous pathway to catabolise the C5-sugars D-xylose and L-arabinose.
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