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Biochemistry. 2013 Aug 20;52(33):5665-74. doi: 10.1021/bi400478a. Epub 2013 Jul 26.

The antiviral drug acyclovir is a slow-binding inhibitor of (D)-amino acid oxidase.

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Laboratory of Biomolecular Science, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kitasato University, 5-9-1 Shirokane, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8641, Japan.


d-Amino acid oxidase (DAO) is a degradative enzyme that is stereospecific for d-amino acids, including d-serine and d-alanine, which are believed to be coagonists of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. To identify a new class of DAO inhibitor(s) that can be used to elucidate the molecular details of the active site environment of DAO, manifold biologically active compounds of microbial origin and pre-existing drugs were screened for their ability to inhibit DAO activity, and several compounds were identified as candidates. One of these compounds, acyclovir (ACV), a well-known antiviral drug used for the treatment of herpesvirus infections, was characterized and evaluated as a novel DAO inhibitor in vitro. Analysis showed that ACV acts on DAO as a reversible slow-binding inhibitor, and interestingly, the time required to achieve equilibrium between DAO, ACV, and the DAO/ACV complex was highly dependent on temperature. The binding mechanism of ACV to DAO was investigated in detail by several approaches, including kinetic analysis, structural modeling of DAO complexed with ACV, and site-specific mutagenesis of an active site residue postulated to be involved in the binding of ACV. The results confirm that ACV is a novel, active site-directed inhibitor of DAO that can be a valuable tool for investigating the structure-function relationships of DAO, including the molecular details of the active site environment of DAO. In particular, it appears that ACV can serve as an active site probe to study the structural basis of temperature-induced conformational changes of DAO.

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