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Structure. 2002 Jan;10(1):115-25.

Crystal structures of the active and alloxanthine-inhibited forms of xanthine dehydrogenase from Rhodobacter capsulatus.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacological Sciences, Center for Structural Biology, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA.


Xanthine dehydrogenase (XDH), a complex molybdo/iron-sulfur/flavoprotein, catalyzes the oxidation of hypoxanthine to xanthine followed by oxidation of xanthine to uric acid with concomitant reduction of NAD+. The 2.7 A resolution structure of Rhodobacter capsulatus XDH reveals that the bacterial and bovine XDH have highly similar folds despite differences in subunit composition. The NAD+ binding pocket of the bacterial XDH resembles that of the dehydrogenase form of the bovine enzyme rather than that of the oxidase form, which reduces O(2) instead of NAD+. The drug allopurinol is used to treat XDH-catalyzed uric acid build-up occurring in gout or during cancer chemotherapy. As a hypoxanthine analog, it is oxidized to alloxanthine, which cannot be further oxidized but acts as a tight binding inhibitor of XDH. The 3.0 A resolution structure of the XDH-alloxanthine complex shows direct coordination of alloxanthine to the molybdenum via a nitrogen atom. These results provide a starting point for the rational design of new XDH inhibitors.

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