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Biochem J. 1994 Aug 15;302 ( Pt 1):279-82.

Kinetic studies with N2-phenylguanines and with L-thymidine indicate that herpes simplex virus type-1 thymidine kinase and thymidylate kinase share a common active site.

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Istituto di Genetica Biochimica ed Evoluzionistica, CNR, Pavia, Italy.


It is known that the Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1)-encoded thymidine kinase (TK) co-purifies with an associated thymidylate kinase (TMPK) activity and that thymidylate (TMP) inhibits the phosphorylation of thymidine by the HSV-1 TK. Here we demonstrate that: (i) TMP phosphorylation catalysed by the viral TMPK is competitively inhibited by thymidine (TdR) with a Ki equal to its Km as substrate for the viral TK; (ii) L-thymidine (L-TdR), the enantiomer of the naturally occurring D-TdR and a substrate for the HSV-1 TK [Spadari, Maga, Focher, Ciarrocchi, Manservigi, Arcamone, Capobianco, Caruso, Colonna, Iotti and Garbesi (1992) J. Med. Chem. 35, 4214-4220], is a powerful inhibitor of the HSV-1 TMPK activity with a Ki value identical with its Km as a substrate for the viral TK; (iii) both viral TK and TMPK activities are inhibited, in a competitive way and with identical Ki values, by novel, non-substrate inhibitors of HSV-1 TK, N2-phenylguanines; (iv) L-TdR is phosphorylated to L-TMP by the viral TK, but L-TMP is not phosphorylated to L-TDP by the viral TMPK activity; and (v) L-TMP inhibits competitively and with identical potencies the phosphorylation of TdR and TMP catalysed respectively by the HSV-1 TK and TMPK activities. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that both TK and TMPK activities encoded by HSV-1 share a common active site which is very tolerant in accepting modified nucleosides, but cannot readily accommodate modified nucleoside monophosphates.

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