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Mol Microbiol. 2013 Aug;89(3):479-93. doi: 10.1111/mmi.12290. Epub 2013 Jul 5.

Genetic and structural validation of Aspergillus fumigatus UDP-N-acetylglucosamine pyrophosphorylase as an antifungal target.

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1
Division of Molecular Microbiology, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee, DD1 5EH, Scotland, UK.

Abstract

The sugar nucleotide UDP-N-acetylglucosamine (UDP-GlcNAc) is an essential metabolite in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. In fungi, it is the precursor for the synthesis of chitin, an essential component of the fungal cell wall. UDP-N-acetylglucosamine pyrophosphorylase (UAP) is the final enzyme in eukaryotic UDP-GlcNAc biosynthesis, converting UTP and N-acetylglucosamine-1-phosphate (GlcNAc-1P) to UDP-GlcNAc. As such, this enzyme may provide an attractive target against pathogenic fungi. Here, we demonstrate that the fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus possesses an active UAP (AfUAP1) that shows selectivity for GlcNAc-1P as the phosphosugar substrate. A conditional mutant, constructed by replacing the native promoter of the A. fumigatus uap1 gene with the Aspergillus nidulans alcA promoter, revealed that uap1 is essential for cell survival and important for cell wall synthesis and morphogenesis. The crystal structure of AfUAP1 was determined and revealed exploitable differences in the active site compared with the human enzyme. Thus AfUAP1 could represent a novel antifungal target and this work will assist the future discovery of small molecule inhibitors against this enzyme.

PMID:
23750903
PMCID:
PMC3888555
DOI:
10.1111/mmi.12290
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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