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dUTPase as a platform for antimalarial drug design: structural basis for the selectivity of a class of nucleoside inhibitors

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Emma Bell


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Pyrimidine metabolism is a major route for therapeutic intervention against malaria. Here we report inhibition and structural studies on the deoxyuridine nucleotidohydrolase from the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum (PfdUTPase). We have identified a series of triphenylmethane derivatives of deoxyuridine with antimalarial activity in vitro which inhibit specifically the Plasmodium dUTPase versus the human enzyme. A 2.4 Angstrom crystal structure of PfdUTPase in complex with one of these inhibitors reveals an atypical trimeric enzyme in which the triphenylmethane derivative can be seen to select for PfdUTPase by way of interactions between the trityl group and the side chains of residues Phe46 and Ile117. Immunofluorescence microscopy studies of parasitized red blood cells reveal that enzyme concentrations are highest during the trophozoite/schizont stages, suggesting that PfdUTPase has a major role in DNA replication. Taken together the data show that PfdUTPase may be considered as an antimalarial drug target.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Whittingham JL, Leal I, Nguyen C, Kasinathan G, Bell E, Jones AF, Berry C, Benito A, Turkenburg JP, Dodson EJ, Ruiz-Perez LM, Wilkinson AJ, Johansson NG, Brun R, Gilbert IH, Gonzalez-Pacanowska D, Wilson KS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Structure

Year: 2005

Volume: 13

Issue: 2

Pages: 329-338

ISSN (print): 0969-2126

ISSN (electronic): 1878-4186

Publisher: Cell Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.str.2004.11.015


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