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Biochemistry. 2003 Jan 21;42(2):383-9.

Crystal structures of human prostatic acid phosphatase in complex with a phosphate ion and alpha-benzylaminobenzylphosphonic acid update the mechanistic picture and offer new insights into inhibitor design.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina 29208, USA.


The X-ray crystal structure of human prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) in complex with a phosphate ion has been determined at 2.4 A resolution. This structure offers a snapshot of the final intermediate in the catalytic mechanism and does not support the role of Asp 258 as a proton donor in catalysis. A total of eight hydrogen bonds serve to strongly bind the phosphate ion within the active site. Bound PEG molecules from the crystallization matrix have allowed the identification of a channel within the molecule that likely plays a role in molecular recognition and in macromolecular substrate selectivity. Additionally, the structure of PAP in complex with a phosphate derivative, alpha-benzylaminobenzylphosphonic acid, a potent inhibitor (IC(50) = 4 nM), has been determined to 2.9 A resolution. This structure gives new insight into the determinants of binding hydrophobic ligands within the active site and allows us to explain PAP's preference for aromatic substrates.

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