|dc.description.abstract||The emergence of drug resistant strains of Plasmodium has given a new face to the old disease, malaria. One of the approaches is to block metabolic pathways of the pathogen. The current thesis describes the X-ray crystallographic analysis of two enzymes of the fatty acid biosynthesis pathway of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. In order to understand the functional mechanism and mode of inhibitor binding, enzyme-inhibitor complexes were characterized, which could help in further improvement of the efficacy of the inhibitors and hence to fight against the disease.
The introductory chapter of the thesis presents a discussion on malaria and different metabolic pathways of the pathogen which could be suitable targets for novel antimalarials. In continuation to that, the pathway of our choice the fatty acid biosynthesis and an overview of the structural features of the enzymes involved in the pathway that have been characterized from different organisms are also described. The second chapter includes the tools of X-ray crystallography that were used for structural studies of the present work. It also discusses the biochemical, biophysical and other computational methods used to further characterize the enzymes under study.
Triclosan, a well known inhibitor of Enoyl Acyl Carrier Protein Reductase (FabI) from several pathogenic organisms, is a promising lead compound to design effective drugs. The X-ray crystal structures of Plasmodium falciparum FabI (PfFabI), in complex with triclosan variants having different substituted and unsubstituted groups at different key functional locations, were determined and compared with triclosan binding which form the basis of chapter 3. The structures revealed that 4 and 2’ substituted compounds have more interactions with the protein, cofactor and solvent molecules as compared to triclosan. New water molecules were found to interact with some of these inhibitors. Substitution at the 2’ position of triclosan caused the relocation of a conserved water molecule, leading to an additional hydrogen bond with the inhibitor. This observation can help in conserved water based inhibitor design. 2’ and 4’ unsubstituted compounds showed a movement away from the hydrophobic pocket to compensate for the interactions made by the halogen groups of triclosan. This compound also makes additional interactions with the protein and cofactor which compensates for the lost interactions due to the unsubstitution at 2’ and 4’. In cell culture, this inhibitor shows less potency, which indicates that the chlorines at 2’ and 4’ positions increase the ability of the inhibitor to cross multilayered membranes. This knowledge helps us to modify the different functional groups of triclosan to get more potent inhibitors.
Certain residues in the substrate binding tunnel of PfFabI were mutated to identify the role of these residues in substrate binding and protein stability, which forms the 4th chapter of the thesis. The substrate binding site residue Ala372 of PfFabI has been mutated to Methionine and Valine which increased the affinity of the enzyme towards triclosan to almost double, close to that of Escherichia coli FabI (EcFabI) which has a Methionine at the structurally similar position of Ala372 of PfFabI. Kinetic studies of the mutants of PfFabI and the crystal structure analysis of the A372M mutant revealed that a more hydrophobic environment enhances the affinity of the enzyme for the inhibitor. A triclosan derivative showed a 3-fold increase in the affinity towards the mutants compared to the wild type, due to additional interactions with the A372M mutant as revealed by the crystal structure. The enzyme has a conserved salt bridge which stabilizes the substrate binding loop and appears to be important for the active conformation of the enzyme. A second set of mutants generated to check this hypothesis exhibited loss of function, except in one case where, the crystal structure showed that the substrate binding loop is stabilized by a water bridge network.
The main focus of chapter 5 is β-Hydroxyacyl-acyl carrier protein dehydratase of Plasmoduim falciparum (PfFabZ) which catalyzes the third and important reaction of the fatty acid elongation cycle. The crystal structure of PfFabZ was available in its hexameric (active) and dimeric (inactive) forms. However, until now PfFabZ has not been crystallized with any bound inhibitors. We have designed a new condition to crystallize PfFabZ with its inhibitors bound in the active site, and determined the crystal structures of three of these complexes. This is the first report of the crystal structures of PfFabZ with competitive inhibitor complexes and the first such study on any FabZ enzyme with active site inhibitors. These inhibitors in the active site stabilize the substrate binding loop, revealing the substrate binding tunnel with an overall shape of “U”. In the crystal structure, the residue Phe169 located in the middle of the tunnel was found to be in two different conformations, open and closed, implying that it controls the length of the tunnel and makes it suitable for accommodating longer substrates merely by changing its side chain conformation. The hydrophobic nature of the substrate binding channel signifies the specificity for the hydrophobic tail of fatty acid substrates. The volume of the active site tunnel is determined by the sequence as well as by the conformation of the substrate binding site loop region and varies between organisms for accommodating fatty acids of different chain lengths. All PfFabZ inhibitors reported here bind to the active site through specific contacts like hydrogen bonds with catalytic residues and hydrophobic interactions. This report on the crystal structures of the complexes of PfFabZ provides the structural basis of the inhibitory mechanism of the enzyme, that could be used to improve the potency of inhibitors against an important component of fatty acid synthesis common to many infectious organisms.
The hot dog fold has been found in more than sixty proteins since the first report of its existence about a decade ago. The fold appears to have a strong association with fatty acid biosynthesis, its regulation and metabolism, as the proteins with this fold are predominantly coenzyme A-binding enzymes with a variety of substrates located at their active sites. We have analyzed the structural features and sequences of proteins having the hot dog fold. This study reveals that though the basic architecture of the fold is well conserved in these proteins, significant differences exist in their sequence, nature of substrate and oligomerization. Segments with certain conserved sequence motifs seem to play crucial structural and functional roles in various classes of these proteins. The analysis discussed in chapter 6, led to predictions regarding the functional classification and identification of possible catalytic residues of a number of hot dog fold-containing hypothetical proteins whose structures were determined in high throughput structural genomics projects.
Rv0098, predicted to be the FabZ of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, was cloned, expressed, purified, crystallized, and X-ray diffraction data were collected. Molecular replacement trials with all “hot dog” fold proteins failed to yield any significant solution due to the low sequence similarity (<20%) of Rv0098 compared to other FabZs. During the trials of structure solution by multiple isomorphous replacement method, structure of Rv0098 was published and it was shown to be a long-chain fatty acyl-CoA thioesterase (FcoT). The crystal structure of Rv0098 did not explain the molecular basis of substrate specificity of varying chain lengths. Molecular dynamics studies were carried out, which revealed that certain residues of the substrate binding tunnel are flexible and thus modulates the length of the tunnel. Flexibility of the loop at the base of the tunnel was also found to be important for determining the length of the tunnel for accommodating appropriate substrates. The structural basis of accommodating long chain substrates by Rv0098 is discussed in chapter 7, by combining the crystallographic and molecular dynamics studies.
Part of the work presented in the thesis has been reported in the following publications.
Karmodiya, K., Sajad, S., Sinha, S., Maity, K., Suguna, K. and Surolia, N. (2007) Conformational stability and thermodynamic characterization of homotetrameric Plasmodium falciparum beta-ketoacyl-ACP reductase. IUBMB Life 59, 441-9.
Pidugu, L. S., Maity, K., Ramaswamy, K., Surolia, N. and Suguna, K. (2009) Analysis of proteins with the 'hot dog' fold: prediction of function and identification of catalytic residues of hypothetical proteins. BMC Struct Biol 9, 37.
Kapoor, N., Banerjee, T., Babu, P., Maity, K., Surolia, N. and Surolia, A. (2009) Design, development, synthesis, and docking analysis of 2'-substituted triclosan analogs as inhibitors for Plasmodium falciparum enoyl-ACP reductase. IUBMB Life 61, 1083-91.
Maity, K., Bhargav, S. P., Sankaran, B., Surolia, N., Surolia, A. and Suguna, K. (2010) X-ray crystallographic analysis of the complexes of enoyl acyl carrier protein reductase of Plasmodium falciparum with triclosan variants to elucidate the importance of different functional groups in enzyme inhibition. IUBMB Life 62, 467-76.
Maity, K., Banerjee, T., Narayanappa, P., Surolia, N., Surolia, A. and Suguna, K. (2010) Effect of substrate binding loop mutations on the structure, kinetics and inhibition of Enoyl Acyl Carrier Protein Reductase from Plasmodium falciparum. (Communicated)
Maity, K., Bharat, S. V., Kapoor, N., Surolia, N., Surolia, A. and Suguna, K. (2010) Insights into the functional and inhibitory mechanism of the β-Hydroxyacyl-Acyl Carrier Protein Dehydratase of Plasmodium falciparum from the crystal structures of its complexes with active site inhibitors. (Communicated)||en_US