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J Biol Chem. 2011 Oct 21;286(42):36522-31. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.259747. Epub 2011 Aug 30.

1-Deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate synthase catalyzes a novel random sequential mechanism.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


Emerging resistance of human pathogens to anti-infective agents make it necessary to develop new agents to treat infection. The methylerythritol phosphate pathway has been identified as an anti-infective target, as this essential isoprenoid biosynthetic pathway is widespread in human pathogens but absent in humans. The first enzyme of the pathway, 1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate (DXP) synthase, catalyzes the formation of DXP via condensation of D-glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate (D-GAP) and pyruvate in a thiamine diphosphate-dependent manner. Structural analysis has revealed a unique domain arrangement suggesting opportunities for the selective targeting of DXP synthase; however, reports on the kinetic mechanism are conflicting. Here, we present the results of tryptophan fluorescence binding and kinetic analyses of DXP synthase and propose a new model for substrate binding and mechanism. Our results are consistent with a random sequential kinetic mechanism, which is unprecedented in this enzyme class.

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