National Center for
2HRQ: Crystal Structure Of Human Liver Carboxylesterase 1 (hce1) In Covalent Complex With The Nerve Agent Soman (gd)
Crystal structures of human carboxylesterase 1 in covalent complexes with the chemical warfare agents soman and tabun
Biochemistry (2007) 46 p.5063-5071
The organophosphorus nerve agents sarin, soman, tabun, and VX exert their toxic effects by inhibiting the action of human acetylcholinesterase, a member of the serine hydrolase superfamily of enzymes. The current treatments for nerve agent exposure must be administered quickly to be effective, and they often do not eliminate long-term toxic side effects associated with organophosphate poisoning. Thus, there is significant need for effective prophylactic methods to protect at-risk personnel from nerve agent exposure, and protein-based approaches have emerged as promising candidates. We present the 2.7 A resolution crystal structures of the serine hydrolase human carboxylesterase 1 (hCE1), a broad-spectrum drug metabolism enzyme, in covalent acyl-enzyme intermediate complexes with the chemical weapons soman and tabun. The structures reveal that hCE1 binds stereoselectively to these nerve agents; for example, hCE1 appears to react preferentially with the 10(4)-fold more lethal PS stereoisomer of soman relative to the PR form. In addition, structural features of the hCE1 active site indicate that the enzyme may be resistant to dead-end organophosphate aging reactions that permanently inactivate other serine hydrolases. Taken together, these data provide important structural details toward the goal of engineering hCE1 into an organophosphate hydrolase and protein-based therapeutic for nerve agent exposure.