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J Biol Chem. 2003 May 30;278(22):19933-8. Epub 2003 Mar 5.

Crystal structure of a statin bound to a class II hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase.

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  • 1School of Biological Sciences, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, United Kingdom. Lydia.Tabernero@man.ac.uk


Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase is the primary target in the current clinical treatment of hypercholesterolemias with specific inhibitors of the "statin" family. Statins are excellent inhibitors of the class I (human) enzyme but relatively poor inhibitors of the class II enzymes of important bacterial pathogens. To investigate the molecular basis for this difference we determined the x-ray structure of the class II Pseudomonas mevalonii HMG-CoA reductase in complex with the statin drug lovastatin. The structure shows lovastatin bound in the active site and its interactions with residues critically involved in catalysis and substrate binding. Binding of lovastatin also displaces the flap domain of the enzyme, which contains the catalytic residue His-381. Comparison with the structures of statins bound to the human enzyme revealed a similar mode of binding but marked differences in specific interactions that account for the observed differences in affinity. We suggest that these differences might be exploited to develop selective class II inhibitors for use as antibacterial agents against pathogenic microorganisms.

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