Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Mol Biol. 1995 Mar 24;247(2):251-9.

The crystal structure of cruzain: a therapeutic target for Chagas' disease.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco 94143, USA.

Abstract

Trypanosoma cruzi, a protozoan parasite, is the etiologic agent of American trypanosomiasis or Chagas' disease. Chagas' disease afflicts more than 24 million individuals in South and Central America producing a debilitating life-long disease. It is the leading cause of heart failure in many Latin American countries. Currently, there is no satisfactory treatment for this parasitic infection. Cruzain (also known as cruzipain, gp 57/51), the major cysteine protease present in T. cruzi, is critical for the development and survival of the parasite within the host cells, making this enzyme a target for potential trypanocidal drugs. Here we report the X-ray crystal structure of cruzain complexed with the potent inhibitor Z-Phe-Ala-fluoromethyl ketone. The structure was determined at 2.35 A (Rcryst = 0.15) by molecular replacement using a modified papain as the search model. The refined structure is compared to papain. Features which distinguish cruzain from papain are discussed since they may aid in the design of specificity inhibitors. Fluorescence microscopy shows that a biotinylated form of the bound inhibitor does not effectively reach host proteases in their lysosomal compartment, but is selectively taken up by the parasite. The inhibitor greatly reduces parasitemia in a cell culture system, without adverse effects to mammalian cells. This biological selectivity can be exploited, in conjunction with unique active site features revealed by the crystal structure, to develop chemotherapy for Chagas' disease.

PMID:
7707373
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk